Ukraine Made Failed Attempt to Blow up Vladimir Putin With Suicide Drone: Claim

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OLIVER JJ LANE

Ukrainian special forces used a military drone packed with explosives to try and kill Russian President Vladimir Putin, a German newspaper claims, prompting a derisive denial from the Kremlin that such a thing might have happened.

A crashed drone reported in Russia on Monday was actually the remains of an attempt by Ukraine to assassinate Vladimir Putin after they received advanced intelligence of his planned whereabouts — a factory visit — on Sunday, according to claims published in German newspaper Bild.

Citing their own “research” and quoting Yuriy Romanenko, a pro-Ukraine activist who the paper says is close to Ukrainian intelligence, the paper claimed to reveal that a Ukrainian military drone carrying 17 kilograms (37 pounds) of ‘C4’ plastic explosives had succeeded in penetrating Russia’s air defences, a major embarrassment for the Kremlin if so. According to the sources, Putin’s spokesman last week had given advance warning of the President’s planned visit to an industrial park on Moscow’s outskirts, giving a chance for a long-range strike.

As was reported on Monday, a military drone carrying explosives did indeed make it to the outskirts of Moscow, crashing 19 miles from the centre. The Associated Press said of the drone: “the incident again underscored Ukraine´s capability to reach deep inside Russia as the Ukrainian military is thought to be preparing for a spring counteroffensive to reclaim occupied areas.”

Bild source Romanenko, for his part, remarked of the attempted assassination: “Putin, we are getting closer”.

While Russia, for their part, openly admitted on Monday that a “fallen drone stuffed with explosives” had been found outside of Moscow, a suggestion the flying bomb might have been approaching their capital city in wartime with a specific purpose was dismissed with contempt. Using a somewhat archaic euphemism for gutter-press reporting, a spokesman for the Kremlin said of the claims: “No, we are not familiar with these publications. Right now, there are a lot of such various ‘yellow-press-style fabrications.’ This does not mean that we should look into them”.

The Ukrainian government released no comment on the incident as of Thursday, except for a press release stating the government was expanding its military drone operations and creating new “UAV strike companies”. “They will use the drones to carry out reconnaissance and strike missions, including artillery coordination. At the same time, the provided vehicles will allow mobile groups to conduct raids behind enemy lines, deliver cargo and evacuate the wounded”, said a spokesman.

Drones are a major part of the Ukraine war, pointing to an important new development in near-peer warfare where unmanned vehicles, both reusable and ‘kamikaze’, are weapons of choice. Ukraine has grabbed headlines for its astute use of drones for reconnaissance and artillery spotting, while its cities have been struck by waves of so-called suicide drones supplied by Iran and packed with explosives.

A U.S. drone was sensationally downed by a Russian jet fighter over the Black sea last month, prompting a race to recover the debris.

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