The Russian government announced Ukraine attempted to assassinate President Vladimir Putin during an overnight drone strike.
“We regard these actions as a planned terrorist act and an attempt on the life of the president,” the Kremlin said in a press release on May 3.
Ukraine has denied the allegation.
According to the Kremlin, two “unmanned aerial apparatuses” attempted to strike Putin’s residence at the Kremlin.
Putin was not in the building at the time of the incident.
The Kremlin noted the attack’s proximity to a national holiday on May 9 — Victory Day which commemorates Germany’s surrender to the Soviet Union in 1945 – and that the “presence of foreign guests” is currently planned as part of this year’s parade. The Russian government concluded that it “reserves the right to retaliate where and when [it] considers it necessary.”
Ukrainian officials told the media their government is not responsible for the alleged attack and have suggested that Russian people were responsible.
“We have no information about the so-called evening attacks on the Kremlin,” Serhiy Nikiforov, spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told the Ukrainian Pravada on May 3. “As President Zelensky has repeatedly stated, all available forces and means Ukraine is directing to liberate its own territories, not to attack strangers.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Zelenskyy, tweeted that the Kremlin’s report was “predictable.”
“Russia is clearly preparing a large-scale terrorist attack. That’s why it first detains a large allegedly subversive group in Crimea,” wrote Podolyak. “The emergence of unidentified unmanned aerial vehicles at energy facilities or on Kremlin’s territory can only indicate the guerilla activities of local resistance forces. As you know, drones can be bought at any military store. … The loss of power control over the country by Putin’s clan is obvious.”
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said any statements made by the Kremlin must be taken with “a very large shaker of salt.”
“I can’t in any way validate them,” said Blinken, while attending a preview of the 2023 World Press Freedom Index, per The Washington Post. “We simply don’t know.”
“We’ll see what the facts are. It’s really hard to comment or speculate on this without really knowing what the facts are,” Blinken said. “More generally, when it comes to Ukraine, which is under daily assault … we leave it to Ukraine to decide how it’s going to defend itself and how it’s going to try to get back the territory that’s been seized from it illegally by Russia over the past 14 months and going back to 2014.”