Ukrainian secret service agents tried to assassinate Vladimir Putin with a kamikaze drone carrying explosives – but failed after it crashed a few miles short of their target, it has been claimed.
The Ukrainian forces reportedly launched the UJ-22 drone, laden with 17 kilograms of C4 plastic explosives, from Ukraine on Sunday with the aim of reaching a newly built industrial estate near Moscow that Putin was due to visit, German newspaper Bild claims.
But before the deadly drone reached the Rudnevo industrial park on its alleged mission to take out the Russian despot, it crashed mere miles away from the site.
Bild cited a tweet by Ukrainian activist Yuriy Romanenko, who claims to have close ties to Kyiv‘s intelligence services, alleging that Ukrainian secret service agents had received ‘information’ about Putin’s apparent trip to the industrial site and had decided to launch the deadly drone in an attempt to assassinate the president.
He claimed that a kamikaze drone that had crashed in Voroskogo village, 12 miles east of the Rudnevo industrial park, was the one that Ukrainian forces had launched as part of the assassination plot.
The Ukrainian forces reportedly launched the UJ-22 drone, laden with 17 kilograms of explosives, from Ukraine on Sunday, Bild claims. Pictured: A Ukrainian drone that crashed near the village of Voroskogo
Yuriy Romanenko claimed that the UJ-22 drone that had crashed in Voroskogo village was the one that Ukrainian forces had launched as part of the assassination plot
The UJ-22 drone packed with 17 kilograms of C4 plastic explosives
Ukrainian secret service agents tried to assassinate Vladimir Putin with a kamikaze drone laden with explosives, it has been claimed
In a tweet cited by Bild, Romanenko said: ‘Putin we are getting closer. Everyone saw the news about the drone that flew to Moscow, but did not explode? So, this drone flew for a reason.
‘Last week, our intelligence officers received information about Putin’s trip to the industrial park in Rudnevo. Accordingly, our kamikaze drone took off, which flew through all the air defenses of the Russian Federation and crashed not far from the industrial park.’
Kyiv has yet to officially comment on the claims made in Bild.
A UJ-22 drone, which has a range of 500 miles, did crash near Vorokogo village on Sunday, with images posted on social media sites including Telegram showing the destroyed UAV in a forest near Moscow.
The drone was laden with 30 C4 plastic explosive blocks weighing 17 kilograms, which are often used by the US army.
Bild, citing Romanenko, claims that the drone was supposed to crash into Rudnevo industrial park and kill Putin, who was reportedly expected at the site on Sunday.
Putin propagandist Paval Zarubin said on Sunday morning that Putin was planning to ‘visit an industrial park in Moscow’ without giving timings.
Video posted on social media showed the lawn in front of the Rudnevo industrial park had been spray painted green. It was said this was in preparation for Putin’s arrival.
But Russian state media said Putin was set to visit the Rudnevo industrial park and hold a meeting on the development of unmanned aircraft systems today.
TASS news agency said the Russian despot would look at how the systems are developed. There was no mention of the drone incident in the state media report.
However Bild cited Romanenko claiming that there was an assassination attempt.
He said: ‘Considering how much Putin is obsessed with his own security, this story could have huge implications for the Kremlin towers’.
The UJ-22 drone packed with 17 kilograms of C4 plastic explosives crashed in Voroskogo village on Sunday
The UJ-22 drone was packed with 17 kilograms of C4 plastic explosives. It has been claimed that the drone was intended to assassinate Putin
And Ukraine expert Sergej Sumlenny told the newspaper: ‘It is clear that a precision strike against the Russian head of state with a kamikaze drone is an almost impossible action.
‘But the very fact that such a drone would reach a place where Putin plans to stay is a slap in the face for the Russian dictator.’
Putin is said to be fearful of assassination since his invasion of Ukraine, after hit squads were sent into Ukraine to take out President Zelensky in the early days of the conflict.
Putin has previously claimed he has escaped numerous assassination attempts.
In 2017, Putin told filmmaker Oliver Stone that there had been five assassination attempts against him – and the only reason he is alive is because he deals with his own security personally.
‘I do my job and the security officers do theirs and they are still performing quite successfully,’ Putin said in the documentary The Putin Interviews.
Putin is said to travel with his own sniper squad whose role is to locate any shooters and kill them before they are able to pull the trigger on Putin.
In 2012, a former public schoolboy in Britain was arrested in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa in connection with a foiled plot to assassinate Putin.
Adam Osmayev, who is from a prominent Chechen family opposed to Putin, was seized by special forces in Odessa and he allegedly confessed to wanting to travel to Moscow and kill Putin, then a presidential candidate, by bombing his motorcade.
Those close to Putin have said he is incredibly paranoid about his safety and constantly fears he will be assassinated.
The Russian despot has even set up identical offices across Russia to confuse assassins in another sign the despot is paranoid about his safety, a Russian intelligence officer who fled the country over the Ukraine war said earlier this month.
Putin designed offices in his luxury mansions in St Petersburg, Sochi and Novo-Ogaryovo to look the same, according to Gleb Karakulov, an officer in the Kremlin leader’s secretive elite personal security service.
The rooms are identical, with matching details such as desk and wall hangings, and official reports sometimes say he’s in one place when he’s actually in another.
Putin speaking to Andrey Kostin in his Novo-Ogaryovo office in 2017
The Kremlin had released photos of his meeting claiming he was in Novo-Ogaryovo in 2020 when in fact he was in Sochi (pictured)
When Putin was in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, security officials would pretend he was leaving and deploy a plane and motorcade, when he was in fact still in the city, the defector revealed.
‘This is, firstly, a ruse to confuse foreign intelligence and secondly, to prevent any attempts on his life,’ Karakulov told the Dossier Center, a Russian investigative journalism project.
This confirmed previous reports by Russian outlet Proekt Media that showed how Putin’s Sochi office and his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo near Moscow were identical. The Kremlin had released photos of his meeting claiming he was in Novo-Ogaryovo when in fact he was in Sochi.
Karakulov depicted Putin as an increasingly isolated leader who lives in an ‘information vacuum’ in heavily guarded residences, which he called ‘bunkers’.
The Russian president refuses to use a mobile phone out of fear of being bugged by the West and prefers to travel on a special armoured train because he is paranoid a plane can be tracked, Karakulov said. He added that Putin is ‘mortally afraid’ of Covid and is isolating for the fourth year.
‘He’s simply afraid,’ Karakulov said. ‘He has shut himself off from the world. His take on reality has become distorted.’
He said Putin’s paranoia has deepened since he invaded Ukraine and detailed how the despot ordered a bunker to be set up at the Russian Embassy in Kazakhstan and secured with a secure communications line last October.
‘It is a kind of paranoia,’ Karakulov said. ‘He is pathologically afraid for his life.’
In March last year, a former British Army chief said NATO and Western allies should not rule out the possibility of assassinating Putin.
Colonel Richard Kemp said Putin represents a ‘permanent and deadly threat’ and killing him may be ‘unpalatable’ to some, but it could help save thousands of lives.
Putin has also become so fearful he will be killed by a Ukrainian strike that he has set up air defence systems near his presidential palace in Yashereova and his official residence near Moscow.
And Putin doesn’t have to just worry about being assassinated by those abroad – there are anti-war movements within Russia that are dedicated to destabilising his regime.
Some groups employ guerrilla-style tactics to launch explosive attacks on Russian military sites or assassinate of pro-Putin figures.