Ukraine's SBU thwarts Russian FSB plot to assassinate Zelensky and other high-ranking officials

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has exposed a network of agents belonging to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) who were reportedly preparing an assassination attempt on the President of Ukraine, the SBU press service reports.

An agent network, which the SBU had previously uncovered with assistance from the State Security Administration, was tasked with executing the plot, which was orchestrated by the FSB from Moscow. Two colonels from the Ukrainian State Security Administration were allegedly involved in the network. They are accused of leaking secret information to Russia.

One of the objectives for the FSB's network was to recruit executors from the military personnel close to the President's security, who could potentially take the head of state hostage and subsequently assassinate him.

In addition, the Russians supposedly had plans to eliminate key Ukrainian officials, including the Head of the SBU, Vasyl Malyuk, the Head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR), Kyrylo Budanov, and other officials.

The SBU also learned that an assassination attempt on the head of GUR, Kyrylo Budanov, was planned to occur before Easter. A missile strike was intended using the coordinates of the building where the official was to be located. The attack was to follow up with a drone assault on those remaining at the strike site, and then another missile launch, partly to destroy evidence of the drone's use.

A Ukrainian State Security Administration colonel reportedly provided the weaponry for the agent, personally transporting FPV drones, RPG-7 charges, and MON-90 anti-personnel mines to Kyiv. The SBU recorded the colonel's travels to another region of Ukraine to obtain drones and explosives, as well as conversations between the potential attacker and the FSB "overseer."

The plot was supervised by members of the 9th Directorate of the Department of Operational Information of the FSB’s Fifth Service:

- Maxim Mishustin;

- Dmitry Perlin;

- Alexey Kornev.

In January 2022, Perlin was assigned as the handler of infiltrated agents who had been recruited before Russia's full-scale invasion, previously overseen by his colleague Alexey Kornev. Kornev had conducted several secret meetings with a State Security Administration colonel in neighboring European countries before the war broke out. Typically, funds for agents would also be transferred abroad.

Search warrants executed at the suspects’ residences unearthed weapons and other evidence of criminal activity.

The suspects have currently been notified of the suspicion under the following articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: Part 2 Article 111 (state treason under martial law conditions); Part 1 Article 14, Part 2 Article 258 (preparation for a terrorist act).

The suspects have been remanded in custody as a preventive measure and face the possibility of life imprisonment if found guilty.

  War in Ukraine, Zelensky, SBU