Russian law enforcement agents have detained a 28-year-old Ukrainian saboteur accused of planning an assassination attempt on a senior military officer in the western part of the country, as announced by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on Thursday.
In a statement, the agency said that it had prevented illegal activities by Ukrainian citizens involved in laying the groundwork for a “subversive-terrorist” act in Voronezh, a city some 250km from the Ukrainian border. His target was said to be an unnamed high-ranking member of the Russian Armed Forces.
The FSB said that the would-be assassin was recruited by Kyiv’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) in September 2022 in Ukraine’s Kharkiv Region bordering Russia and underwent spy and sabotage training. He then was sent to Russia, where he was ordered to stage a terrorist attack by using an explosive device, officials claimed.
According to the agency, during the raid operatives seized a homemade bomb containing shrapnel, several detonators, and a fake Russian passport presumably meant to allow the suspect to flee the country after the attack.
The FSB also released a video showing the suspect riding a bicycle on a snowy night while carrying a large thermal backpack such as are used by delivery services workers to carry food. After he approaches a bench, four operatives are seen rapidly zeroing in on him, taking him to the ground, and later escorting him to a car.
The clip also contains the suspect’s confession in which he says that the would-be assassination was meant to be “revenge” and also sought to instill fear in other members of the Russian military and civilians. He added that he was arrested while en route to the location where he intended to plant the bomb.
In recent months, Russia’s security services have on numerous occasions arrested Ukrainian agents tasked with targeting prominent public figures. Last month, the FSB said it detained a Russian citizen working for Kyiv who organized an attack in Crimea that seriously injured Oleg Tsarev, a former Ukrainian lawmaker living in Russia.