Two Ukrainian State Security Officers Arrested: Planned the Assassination of Zelensky

The head of the Ukrainian State Security Service, Malyuk, said that the failed assassination was supposed to be a "gift" to Vladimir Putin ahead of his inauguration on Tuesday

by Sededin Dedovic
Two Ukrainian State Security Officers Arrested: Planned the Assassination of Zelensky
© Omar Marques / Getty Images

Two Ukrainian security officials have been arrested on charges of planning to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky, the country's State Security Service announced, reports CNN. This is not the first time that Zelensky has been the target of attacks since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The Ukrainian State Security Service announced that it had apprehended Russian agents within the Ukrainian State Guard who were planning to kidnap and assassinate the president and other high-ranking government officials.

The head of the civil service, Vasil Malyuk, said that the failed assassination was supposed to be a "gift" to Vladimir Putin ahead of his inauguration on Tuesday. He believes that the assassination was carefully planned, and there was a high probability that it would succeed; the agents were very confident and experienced.

Expatriate Russian citizens, including a young group with an anti-Vladimir Putin placard, wait to vote at the Russian Embassy in© Sean Gallup / Getty Images

They announced that they had arrested two suspected "moles" whom they believe were recruited by Russia before its invasion.

Ukrainian State Security claimed on Telegram that a Russian secret agent had transmitted the coordinates of the safe house before the planned missile attack. They added that Russia planned to destroy all traces of the drone used to target the president.

"One of the tasks of the FSB intelligence network was to search for executioners among people close to the president, who could take the head of state hostage and later kill him. In addition to Zelensky, the enemy planned to eliminate the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Vasili Malyuk, the head of the state administration of Ukraine, Kiril Budanov, and other high officials." The head of the State Security, Malyuk, said that they successfully solved this incident, but that the strength and capabilities of the enemy should not be ignored: "The terrorist attack, which was supposed to be a gift to Putin before the inauguration, is actually a failure of the Russian special services.

But we must not forget - the enemy is strong and experienced; it cannot be underestimated. We will continue to work proactively to ensure that every traitor receives the appropriate punishment from the court." In August 2023, a woman from the southern Ukrainian region of Mykolaiv was arrested for allegedly plotting to kill Zelensky.

She was accused of gathering intelligence about Zelensky's planned visit to Nikolaev. The State Security Service of Ukraine said the woman was caught "on the spot" while trying to "forward intelligence". In April of the same year, a Pole was accused of aiding another alleged Russian plot to assassinate Zelenskiy.

He is accused of "willingness to act for foreign intelligence services against the Republic of Poland", which can result in eight years in prison. Prosecutors stated that this man agreed to provide Russian spies with information about security at the Rzeszow-Jasionka airport, in southeastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, which is known to be used by Zelensky when he goes on foreign trips.

This plot was discovered by Ukrainian authorities, and the man was later arrested and charged in Poland. During a visit to the coastal city of Odesa in March of the same year, a Russian rocket exploded near the convoy carrying Zelenski and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The rocket fell about 500 meters from the convoy, causing a "mushroom cloud" of smoke. Five people died in this attack, although neither Zelenski nor Mitsotakis were injured. Russia published a warrant for the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky only a few days ago, Russian media reported at the time.

Current President Zelensky and former President Petro Poroshenko have been placed on the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs' wanted list, without giving reasons or specific crimes they allegedly committed. Russian officials did not immediately clarify the accusations against Zelensky and Poroshenko.

The independent Russian news outlet Mediazona reported that both have been on the list for months. In a statement published today, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the reports about the inclusion of Zelensky on the list of wanted persons, highlighting them as evidence of the "desperation of the Russian state machinery and propaganda." A large number of officials and deputies from Ukraine and NATO countries are also on the Russian wanted list, including Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kalas, who has strongly advocated for increased military aid to Kiev and stronger sanctions against Moscow.

The Kremlin has repeatedly tried to link Ukrainian leaders to Nazism, even though the country has a democratically elected president of Jewish origin, who lost relatives in the Holocaust. Moscow has cited the "denazification, demilitarization, and neutral status" of Ukraine as key goals of the war against its neighbor, which it otherwise calls a "special military operation."

Ukrainian Vladimir Putin