Russian plot to kill Zelensky uncovered; A “gift’ from Putin on his Tuesday Inauguration

The Ukrainian security service (SBU) says it has foiled a Russian plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky and other high-ranking Ukrainian officials. The Ukrainian leader said at the start of the invasion he was Russia’s “number one target”.

According to the BBC “SBU head Vasyl Malyuk said the attack was supposed to be “a gift to Putin before the inauguration” – referring to Russia’s Vladimir Putin who was sworn in for a fifth term as president at the Kremlin on Tuesday. The operation turned into a failure of the Russian special services, Mr Malyuk said.

Ever since Russian paratroopers attempted to land in Kyiv and assassinate President Zelensky in the beginning hours and days of the full-scale invasion plots to assassinate him have been commonplace. But this alleged plot stands out from the rest. It involves servin, whose job it was to keep officials and institutions safe, allegedly hired as moles.

Putin used the the first moments of his fifth term to thank the “heroes” of his war in Ukraine and to rail against the West. Neither the U.S., U.K. nor German ambassadors attended. The U.S. Embassy said Ambassador Lynne Tracy was out of the country on “prescheduled, personal travel.” A handful of European Union envoys attended even though top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said he told them “the right thing to do is not to attend this inauguration,” because Putin is the subject of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine

According to the SBU, the plotters had aimed to use a mole to get information about his location, which they would then have attacked with rockets, drones and anti-tank grenades.

Russian forces are gaining ground in Ukraine, deploying scorched-earth tactics as Kyiv grapples with shortages of men and ammunition.

Ukraine has brought the battle to Russian soil through drone and missile attacks, especially in border regions. In a speech in February, Putin vowed to fulfill Moscow’s goals in Ukraine, and do what is needed to “defend our sovereignty and security of our citizens.”