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Putin 'survived an assassination attempt' two months ago

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 May 2022, 8:15am
Vladimir Putin speaks during a concert marking the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea. Photo / Getty Images
Vladimir Putin speaks during a concert marking the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea. Photo / Getty Images

Putin 'survived an assassination attempt' two months ago

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 May 2022, 8:15am

Vladimir Putin survived an assassination attempt two months ago, a Ukrainian official has claimed.

Ukraine's Chief of Defence Intelligence Kyrylo Budanov told Pravda the attempt on the Russian President's life was "absolutely unsuccessful".

"He was even attacked in the line of, as they say, representatives of the Caucasus not so long ago," Budanov said.

"This is non-public information. Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really took place… It was about two months ago.

"Once again, he was unsuccessful. There is no publicity about this event, but it took place."

The assassination attempt is said to have taken place in the early weeks of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, while Putin was on a trip.

More details are expected to be released soon.

Putin is believed to have faced at least four other assassination attempts in the past, and is increasingly anxious that someone is "out to get him", Kremlin insiders say.

One plot was foiled by Russian intelligence shortly before the 2012 presidential election in Russia.

Several men were arrested in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa after being tasked with killing Putin by Islamist Chechen rebels.

He faced a similar assassination attempt on the day of the 2008 Russian presidential election, with a Tajik sniper arrested hours before Putin was due to give a speech in Red Square in Moscow.

Suicide bombers are also reported to have considered an attack on Putin during a trip to the Iranian capital Tehran in 2007.

The Russian leader has also faced a series of rumours about his health in recent weeks.

Kremlin insiders have claimed that he may have cancer, which could explain his recent bloated appearance and erratic behaviour.

Last week it was reported that Putin had emergency surgery to drain fluid from his abdomen.

Intelligence sources have also claimed that he has blood cancer and is "seriously ill".

Russia analyst Alexey Muraviev has previously warned that Putin faces a potential coup from within his military and intelligence services.

Muraviev told Sky News Australia that the coup may come as they want to try to win the war – not to stop aggression in Ukraine.

He said: "I think that there have been tensions between Russia and the intelligence community and Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

"Because clearly, there's been a clear error of judgment that was made and it was probably driven by Putin himself about the situation in Ukraine.

"About the initial planning and the initial phase of the invasion where the Russian military naturally assume that they're going there as liberators rather than the invaders.

"I think that sort of false narrative was presented to them by the Supreme Commander in Chief, and when it fired back when the Russians began taking heavy casualties, Putin began quietly blaming the security services.

"Which I don't think went really well also because he's coming from within the security apparatus."

Australian National University visiting fellow and expert in communist and post-communist studies Dr Leonid Petrov said that such an operation was most likely to come from those closest to Putin – the security services.

"The closest to Putin is the so-called Federal Protective Service, which is deliberately designed to protect the President and his office. They are in close co-operation with the FSB [the successor to the KGB]," Petrov told news.com.au.

Noting that Putin seems to stand closely with women more frequently than with men, and citing the President's reputation as a "womaniser", Petrov suggested a hypothetical assassin may be a woman.

"I believe that if there is an assassination attempt, that might come from a female. Maybe a member of his family, his mistress, his daughter, his ex-wife – somebody who knows him and could actually get close to him," he said.

"The possibility [of assassination] is increasing."

Putin also recently ordered a thousand of his personal staff replaced out of fear for personal safety.