Russia alleges the Kremlin has been hit by drone strike
An object, something like a UFO, flies towards the Kremlin and explodes. Another follows shot down by Russian defence systems. The footage, taken last week on Red Square, sent shockwaves around the world and through Russia: how could what appeared to be two remote-controlled drones enter one of the world’s most heavily fortified cities?
Soon after, Russia claimed the drones were the property of Ukraine and that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces were trying to assassinate Vladimir Putin. It later pinned the blame on the US.
Analysts and Russia watchers note that Putin is known not to stay in the Kremlin overnight, so the pilot is unlikely to have had that goal in mind. Some say the drones were the work of Russia: a false flag mission intended to fuel propaganda and act as a justification for retaliation.
One week on, the answers still aren’t clear. What we know is that Putin is currently one of the world’s ‘most wanted’ men — an ICC warrant out with his name on it — a title he seems to have carried with him ever since he first took office back in 1999.
While the number is widely disagreed on, around five attempts on Putin’s life have been recorded since the turn of the century. Here, Express.co.uk takes a look at the moments that could’ve changed history.
Back with a vengeance
In 2002, Putin carried out a state visit to Azerbaijan, a country which little more than a decade earlier had been a part of the Soviet Union.
Surrounded by an entourage, little did the newly elected President know that a group of Iraqi men were plotting to kill him.
One man and an accomplice were arrested after the plan to detonate explosives near Putin was foiled.
The two were sentenced to ten years in prison, their identities never revealed.
They are said to have had affiliations with groups in Afghanistan and Chechnya — the latter enduring a complicated and embittered relationship with Russia because of the brutal Chechen-Russo wars.
‘I’m the President of Russia — not him!’
Attempt number two came just one month after the Azerbaijan incident.
In November 2002, a man drove near the grounds of the Kremlin, got out of his car, and spoke to security guards on shift.
He told them: “My name is Ivan Zaitsev. I’m the President of Russia. Now take me to Vladimir Putin!”
He was sent to a local hospital for an evaluation of his mental state and later released. But, by the end of the year, the mystery man is said to have had a hand in the assassination attempt.
It came just as Putin was scheduled to drive on a Moscow motorway.
Along the road, 40kg of explosives were found, set to detonate in the area where Putin intended to drive. The detonation team arrived and unpacked the equipment. Putin lived on.
Putin’s cronies buying up Google ads in Moldova to push propaganda[LATEST]
‘Genuine fear’ brewing over post-invasion civil war in Ukraine[LATEST]
Putin’s Victory Day parade flop as previous celebrations put event to shame[LATEST]
Britain Foils Plot on Putin
In October 2003, British anti-terror police foiled a plan hatched by two former KGB men to kill Putin during a visit to the UK.
A bizarre tale, Alexander Litvinenko, himself a former KGB agent who was poisoned by, it is believed, the Putin regime, alerted UK authorities to the attempt after speaking with an unidentified Russian man.
The alleged plot in which Putin was to be shot dead by a sniper was uncovered by Scotland Yard after the tip-off from Mr Litvinenko.
He said he had had phone call conversations with the man and had met at a prearranged meeting on a bench outside a noodle restaurant in Leicester Square. Mr Litvinenko claimed the man said Putin needed to be “toppled” and “overthrown”.
The two unidentified men in question had arrived from Moscow and booked into the Hilton Metropole Hotel the same month they were arrested.
One of the men told Mr Litvinenko that Chechen separatists would carry out the assassination. They were later released on condition they returned to Moscow immediately.
The following alleged assassination plot took almost ten years to come to light and involved a former private schoolboy who studied in Britain.
In 2013, Adam Osmayev, a Chechen, was arrested and charged over an alleged plot to assassinate Putin in an attack on his motorcade. While the European Court of Human Rights halted his extradition to Russia, he was jailed in Ukraine for two years for being in possession of illegal explosives.
Mr Osmayev and his wife Amina Okuyeva were members of a voluntary battalion that fought against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
In 2017, the pair were ambushed while driving on a railway crossing near Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. Mrs Okuyeva was shot dead while Mr Osmayev was wounded.
Their assailant was later identified as a Chechen-born Russian who shot Mr Osmayev twice but died after Mrs Okuyeva opened fire on him.
After being captured, Mr Osmayev appeared in a Russian-supervised confession video, in which he said: “Our goal was to go to Moscow and try to kill Prime Minister Putin… Our deadline was after the Russian presidential election.”
Mr Osmayev had studied at an elite private school near Stroud in the late Nineties.
Up in Smoke
In September 2022, Putin was the victim of another alleged assassination attempt after his limousine went up in smoke.
The front wheel was hit by a “loud bang from the left front wheel followed by heavy smoke”. The Russian President, however, quickly escaped the car safely.
Telegram channel General SVR, which claims to be owned by an insider in the Kremlin and often leaks details about life at the heart of Russian politics, said the President was returning to his official residence in a decoy or “backup” motorcade.
It was protected by five armoured cars, with Putin in the third, the channel claimed.
Source: Read Full Article