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MOSCOW – Following unconfirmed videos being posted online depicting what appears armed conflict in the skies over the Kremlin, Russian government officials have claimed that Ukraine had attempted to assassinate President Vladimir Putin Tuesday night via an unsuccessful drone attack.
Officials allege that Ukrainian forces had utilized two weaponized drones in an attempt to strike Putin’s residence within the Kremlin, but that Russian defense forces had successfully shot both of them down before they had reached their target.
No injuries or damage to the Kremlin were reported. Putin himself was publicly seen meeting with a regional governor outside of Moscow on Wednesday, confirming that he was unharmed.
The Russian government – via an article released on state media outlet RIA – has labeled the incident a “terrorist action” and proclaimed the country will retaliate against Ukraine for the alleged assassination attempt.
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“The Kremlin has assessed these actions as a planned terrorist act and an assassination attempt on the president on the eve of Victory Day, the May 9 Parade,” the RIA article said.
The Kremlin issued the statement following the release of videos online that appeared to depict Russian defense forces shooting down a drone in the vicinity of the Kremlin, with plumes of smoke subsequently being seen rising in Moscow.
Defense experts have chimed in on the incident, wondering whether or not the assassination attempt was legitimate, or if it was part of a disinformation campaign designed to allow Russia to ramp up their attacks on Ukraine.
Defense Intelligence Agency officer Rebekah Koffler told Fox News that more information was needed to confirm the Kremlin’s claims about the alleged attack.
“It’s too early to tell who is behind the purported drone attack and whether the attempted attack actually did happen,” Koffler said. “If Ukraine did do it, it would be viewed by Russia as massive escalation, allowing Putin to obliterate Kyiv, including Zelensky’s residence. The way the article is written has signs of Russian disinformation…if it is a Russian ‘active measure,’ the goal would be provocation, to provoke, laying the groundwork and the pretext for a ‘retaliation’ which the article mentioned specifically.”
Koffler also noted that an unknown third party could potentially be seeking to escalate the Russian- Ukrainian conflict.
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