epa11126083 A handout photo made available by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service shows Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) during a visit to frontline positions near Robotyne village, Zaporizhzhia region, southeastern Ukraine, 04 February 2024, amid the Russian invasion. According to the presidential office, Zelensky, during a working trip to the Zaporizhzhia region, visited Ukrainian soldiers near the frontline village of Robotyne and handed them state awards. Russian troops entered Ukrainian territory on 24 February 2022, starting a conflict that has provoked destruction and a humanitarian crisis. EPA/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT -- MANDATORY CREDIT: UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE -- HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
Ukrainian claims of Russian efforts to kill President Zelensky aren’t new (Picture: EPA)

Ukraine’s security service has said two agents have been arrested as part of a Russian plot to assassinate Volodymyr Zelensky.

The SBU secret service said the two men were colonels recruited by their counterparts in Moscow, the FSB, who hatched the plan as a ‘gift’ for Vladimir Putin.

It was said to involve finding someone close to Zelensky’s presidential guard who would take him hostage ‘and later kill him’, they added.

SBU chief Vasyl Maliuk and the head of GRU military intelligence Kyrylo Budanov were alo to be targeted in the plot, it was claimed.

The colonels work for Ukraine’s state security service, which is tasked with protecting top officials.

They are accused of treason and face life imprisonment if convicted.

The pair allegedly planned to use FPV drones, charges for RPG-7 portable, reusable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket launchers and MON-90 anti-personnel mines.

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Ukrainian secret services swoop on a ???network of agents??? from the Russian FSB detaining two colonels who were ???preparing to assassinate Volodymyr Zelensky as an gift to Vladimir Putin for his inauguration???
Ukrainian secret services swoop on a ‘network of agents’ from the Russian FSB (Picture: SBU/e2w news)
A 'traitor' Ukrainian colonel is interrogated over his co-operation with a Russian FSB plan to assassinate Volodymyr Zelensky.
A ‘traitor’ Ukrainian colonel is interrogated over his co-operation with a Russian FSB plan to assassinate Volodymyr Zelensky (Picture: SBU/east2west News)

After recruiting a spy within Zelensky’s inner circle ‘to observe movements and transmit information’ they planned to launch a missile strike at his safe house, followed by kamikaze drone hits. 

The SBU claimed it was then planned ‘to launch another missile, including to destroy traces of the drone’s use’.

SBU chief Vasyl Maliuk said he personally oversaw the top-secret operation to track the conspirators.

‘The terrorist attack, which was supposed to be a gift to Putin before the inauguration, was actually a failure of the Russian special services,’ he said.

‘But we must not forget – the enemy is strong and experienced, he cannot be underestimated. 

‘We will continue to work ahead of time, so that every traitor receives the well-deserved court sentences.’

Ukrainian claims of Russian efforts to kill Zelensky aren’t new.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking during awarding ceremony for soldiers in Kyiv on April 22 (Picture: AFP via Getty)

The president said in 2022 there has been at least 10 attempts to assassinate him, and now the war with Russia has stretched into its third year.



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Last month, prosecutors in Poland said a Polish man had been arrested on allegations of being ready to spy on behalf of Russia’s military intelligence in an alleged plot to assassinate him.

Zelensky’s movements are kept secret for security reasons, and his visits around the country are publicly announced only after he has left.

News of events he holds in Kyiv is usually embargoed until they are over.

Zelensky has proved to be a valuable asset for his country as the war against Ukraine’s bigger neighbour grinds on, and as Kyiv’s depleted forces wait for more troops and weapons.

He has urged his people to keep fighting and instilled a belief that Ukraine can prevail.

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