Ukraine denies it tried to kill Putin in Moscow drone attack

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Ukraine has denied that it tried to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin during an overnight drone attack on his official residence in Moscow.

Russia claims it foiled a Ukrainian-backed plot to target Putin — but officials in Kyiv have rubbished the Kremlin’s allegations which sparked a storm Wednesday afternoon.

“We consider these actions to be a planned terrorist attack and attempt on the life of the President,” the original Kremlin statement said, adding that Putin was “not injured [and] the schedule of his work has not changed.”

The Kremlin did not give any evidence that Ukraine had carried out the attack and POLITICO was unable to independently verify the claims.

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“The Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures where and when it sees fit,” Putin’s office said, adding that two drones headed toward the Kremlin had been destroyed by the Russian military and special services.

A series of unverified videos has since been published online purporting to show anti-aircraft fire over the Kremlin.

Kyiv responded indignantly to the accusations.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s spokesperson said: “We have no information about the so-called night attacks on the Kremlin, but as President Zelenskyy has repeatedly stated, Ukraine directs all available forces and means to liberate its own territories, not to attack foreign ones.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Zelenskyy’s office, said: “As for the drones over the Kremlin. It’s all predictable … Russia is clearly preparing a large-scale terrorist attack. That’s why it first detains a large allegedly subversive group in Crimea. And then it demonstrates ‘drones over the Kremlin.’”

He added that there may be “guerrilla” activity by “local resistance forces” inside Russia.

In a statement Wednesday morning, Moscow officials announced a blanket ban on the launch of civilian drones in the city, with those flouting the rules liable to face criminal charges.

Former chief of the U.S. Army in Europe and four-star general Ben Hodges said: “Ukraine has the right, under international law, to defend itself. After 14 months of deadly Russian strikes against civilian targets across all of Ukraine, Kremlin whining about a drone strike that hits the Kremlin merits zero sympathy.”

This story has been updated.