A top Ukraine military official claims that there was an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Russian President Vladmir Putin in the Caucasus region two months ago.
Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, chief of defense intelligence for Ukraine, told the Ukraine online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda that an “unsuccessful attempt” on the Russian strongman’s life occurred in Russia shortly after Putin invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
“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,” Budanov told the news outlet. “Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really took place. … It was about two months ago.”
While Budanov’s claim has not been verified, it comes weeks after reports that Putin underwent surgery to remove fluid from his abdomen.
Budanov’s earlier prediction that Russia would invade Ukraine in 2022 was greeted with skepticism by other officials but turned out to be correct.
He appeared to say that Ukraine was not behind the assassination attempt by linking it to “the Caucasus” — a region between the Black and Caspian seas comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and parts of southern Russia. This makes it difficult to know who exactly made the move on Putin.
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This is not the first time Putin has reportedly escaped an attempt on his life. A 2017 documentary, “The Putin Interviews,” reported that he had already survived at least five assassination attempts.
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In the event of Putin’s assassination, a number of scenarios have been presented. One is that little-known Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin would take control of the Russian state. The 56-year-old would officially rule the Russian government if Putin dies or is incapacitated for 90 days or until an election can be held to replace him.
Other geopolitics analysts say the power could be transferred to Nikolai Patrushev, Putin’s former KGB pal and current secretary of the Security Council of Russia since 2008.
Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, May 23, 2022. (Ramil Sitdikov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)