Ukraine Intel Official Says Putin Survived Assassination Attempt Two Months Ago

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Chief of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine Major-General Kyrylo Budanov claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin survived an assassination attempt in the Caucasus region two months ago, while other reports indicate that the strongman has resorted to “carrying a suitcase with nuclear codes” to deter further plots.

The assassination attempt claim should be taken with a grain of salt, because it comes from a Ukrainian intelligence agency head, and there may be all sorts of misdirection going on here.

Budanov made the claim in an interview with Ukrainska Pravda, a Ukrainian media outlet, on Monday, adding that the attempt was made after the invasion of Ukraine had started. He said, according to The Week:

There was an attempt to assassinate Putin… He was even attacked, it is said, by representatives of the Caucasus, not so long ago. This is non-public information. [It was an] Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really happened… It was about 2 months ago. I repeat, this attempt was unsuccessful. There was no publicity about this event, but it took place.

Ukrainska Pravda also stated that a longer version of the interview would be published Tuesday, but as of this writing, it has not.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Vlad is terrified of assassination, and now carries around the nuclear codes to frighten off any plotters. British TV newsman Jeremy Vine said to his panel:

…apparently, he’s carrying around a briefcase with the nuclear codes in to try and deter people from assassinating him because he could go look, I’ll launch a nuke on the world if you dare to even attempt it.

That’s reassuring.

Putin is no stranger to assassination attempts, claiming there had been at least five in a 2017 interview with filmmaker Olive Stone.  Australian news outlet news.com.au describes some of them:

  • One plot was foiled by Russian intelligence shortly before the 2012 presidential election in Russia.
  • Several men were arrested in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa after being tasked with killing Putin by Islamist Chechen rebels.
  • He faced a similar assassination attempt on the day of the 2008 Russian presidential election, with a Tajik sniper arrested hours before Putin was due to give a speech in Red Square in Moscow.
  • Suicide bombers are also reported to have considered an attack on Putin during a trip to the Iranian capital Tehran in 2007.

Meanwhile, rumors of an upcoming coup are everywhere:

Russia analyst Alexey Muraviev thinks that if a coup were attempted, it would come from within Putin’s military and intelligence services. The coup may come as they want to try to win the war, not to stop aggression in Ukraine, he said. “I think that there have been tensions between Russia and the intelligence community and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin,” he explained.

Adding to Putin’s woes, he’s also faced health rumors recently, with speculation that he has blood cancer or another disease.

A war going badly, assassination attempts, coup rumors, and health concerns… All in all, it doesn’t seem like it’s much fun being Vladimir Putin these days.