Kremlin accuses Ukraine of trying to assassinate Putin

Russia has accused Ukraine of trying to assassinate President Vladimir Putin by using drones to target his residence in the Kremlin in central Moscow.

The presidential office said defences downed two drones overnight. Mr Putin’s spokesman said the Russian leader had not been in the complex at the time.

Unverified footage on social media appeared to show an object flying over the Kremlin before a small explosion.

Ukraine said it had nothing to do with the alleged drone strike.

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s spokesman said Ukraine was focusing on liberating its own territory after Russia invaded last year.

Another official told the BBC the reported incident indicated Russia could be “preparing a large-scale terrorist provocation” in Ukraine.

The two countries frequently trade accusations and denials since the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022.

Russia said the two drones targeting the Kremlin – a large government complex in central Moscow – were disabled using electronic radar assets.

One video on social media showed smoke rising over the fortified complex, and in another a small explosion was visible above the Kremlin Senate building, while two men appeared to clamber up the dome.

In a statement, the Russian presidency said: “Last night, the Kyiv regime attempted to carry out a strike on the Kremlin residence of the President of the Russian Federation with unmanned aerial vehicles.”

It said it regarded this “as a planned terrorist act and an assassination attempt on the president”, and Russia “reserves the right to take retaliatory measures wherever and whenever is deemed necessary”.

Mr Putin has very high personal protection and the BBC’s Russia Editor, Steve Rosenberg, says it is astonishing to think that drones could have got anywhere near the Kremlin. 

The Russian leader was unhurt and his schedule would continue as normal, his office said. He was working in Novo Ogaryovo outside Moscow on Wednesday.

Fragments of the drones had fallen on the Kremlin site but no-one had been hurt and there was no damage to buildings, the presidency said.

It also noted the incident had come shortly before Russia’s May 9 Victory Day parade, which foreign dignitaries were expected to attend. -BBC

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