On Wednesday, Russia accused Ukraine of trying to assassinate its president, Vladimir Putin, through two different drone strikes, and they warned that they may retaliate as a result.
Not long after the accusations were made, Ukraine denied having any involvement in the ordeal. They accused Russia of trying to use this incident as a pretext for stepping up their attacks in the ongoing war with Ukraine.
The press service for the Kremlin announced Wednesday that air defenses in Russia shot down two drones that were trying to strike the president’s residence inside the Kremlin. The statement read:
“We regard these actions as a planned terrorist act and an attempt on the life of the president. Russia reserves the right to take countermeasures wherever and whenever it deems appropriate.”
Russia also claimed that the United States had an involvement in the attempt on Putin’s life. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said
“Undoubtedly, such decisions, the definition of goals, the definition of means – all this is dictated to Kyiv from Washington.”
Peskov added that Putin wasn’t even in the Kremlin at the time the alleged attack took place. They also said that nobody was harmed in the incident, and that there wasn’t any material damage that occurred from the fragments that fell to the ground from the drones that were destroyed.
Some videos emerged on various social media channels, purporting to show the incident actually happened. Many media outlets have been unable to independently verify that the video was actually of the drone attack attempts that Moscow claims they were.
This isn’t the first time that Russia has accused Ukraine of trying to carry out attacks or sabotage in parts of Russia. For its part, Ukraine has denied any involvement in any of those attacks.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, held a news conference while in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday, saying:
“We don’t attack Putin or Moscow. We fight on our territory. We are defending our villages and cities. We don’t have enough weapon[s] for this. That’s why we don’t use it anywhere [else]. We didn’t attack Putin. We leave it to tribunal.
“They will invent escalatory schemes every day.”
High-ranking U.S. officials called Russia’s claims that America was involved in the attacks as “ridiculous.” Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said he didn’t know who was ultimately responsible for the assassination attempts.
“I would take anything coming out of the Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt.”
Other military experts and analysts said that even if the drone attacks did indeed happen, it would be premature to call them attempts to assassinate the Russian president.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, said on Twitter this week that the drone attacks might have been carried about by “local resistance forces” within Russia. He further added that Russia is using these attacks as a way to justify what they believe will be further attacks on Ukrainian civilians on a large scale.