Ukrainian and Russian security agents are claimed to have uncovered a plot to assassinate Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who is running for the March 4 Presidential elections, the state-run Channel One TV reported on Monday.
The group of criminals involved in the plot were already on the international wanted list and were detained in the Ukrainian city of Odessa in early January, after they survived an explosion in a rented apartment there.
They had reportedly tried to fabricate a home-made explosive device which accidentally went off killing one. The remaining two were arrested, the TV channel said.
After weeks of interrogation, the detained reportedly confessed that they were planning to assassinate Putin in Moscow soon after the March 4 Presidential elections, the RIA Novosti news agency reported quoting the TV channel.
One of the surviving militants identified as Ilya Pyanzin reportedly told the interrogators that Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov, who is believed to be behind the deadliest terror strikes in Russia, hired him and Ruslan Madayev, the terrorist killed in the Odessa explosion, to assassinate Putin.
Pyanzin and Madayev came from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) via Turkey to Ukraine. In Odessa, they were met by a local fixer identified as Adam Osmayev, who was supposed to brief the militants about the plan and send them to Moscow.
The TV report, featuring Osmayev's interrogation, says that the militant, who had been on the international wanted list since 2007, is cooperating with the investigators in the hope that he will not be extradited to Russia.
"The final task was to go to Moscow and carry out an assassination attempt on Premier Putin," Osmayev reportedly said adding that the late Madayev had volunteered to become the suicide-bomber.
According to the assassination plan found in the militants' laptop, they had to learn the structure of Putin's security team and how his bodyguards worked. "The deadline was set for the period after the Presidential elections," Osmayev reportedly told the interrogators.
Putin, who served as President from 2000 to 2008, is expected to return to the Kremlin for a third, non-consecutive term in office in the March 4 elections.
by RTT Staff Writer
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