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Two Ukrainians detained over alleged plot to assassinate Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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The alleged Russian plot was intended to be actioned in time for Vladimir Putin’s presidential inauguration on Tuesday, Ukrainian authorities say.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Commander of Ukraine's Ground Forces Col.-Gen. Oleksandr Syrski, right, visit the front line city of Kupiansk on Nov. 30, 2023.

Ukraine’s intelligence service intercepted a Russian plot to murder President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ahead of Vladimir Putin’s re-inauguration this week.

Vasyl Maliuk, the head of the Ukrainian State Security Service, said in a statement that Russian intelligence agents targeting Zelenskyy sought out members of the Ukrainian military close to the president’s security detail who could take the leader hostage and later kill him.

Two colonels in the State Guard of Ukraine, which oversees security for top officials, were detained on suspicion of participating in the plan.

The colonels are alleged to have been recruited before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The crime of treason carries a life sentence in Ukraine.

The operation is said to have been run from Moscow, with three alleged Russian spies named as co-conspirators.

The broader plan was reportedly to identify the location of senior Ukrainian officials and target them with a rocket attack, followed by drones and missiles.

Ukraine has previously claimed knowledge of Russian efforts to kill the Ukrainian leader, and Zelenskyy himself said in 2022 that there had been at least 10 attempts to kill him on Moscow’s behalf.

Last month, prosecutors in Poland said a Polish national had been arrested on allegations of preparing to spy on behalf of the Kremlin’s military intelligence in an alleged plot to assassinate the Ukrainian leader.

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