Ukrainian and Russian security officials announced Monday that they had uncovered a plot by a Chechen-connected terrorist group to assassinate Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
News of the plot was broken by the state-owned Channel One television station, whose report said people connected with Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov had been arrested in Odessa, Ukraine.
A Federal Security Service representative said terrorists working under Umarov were planning to kill Putin using a mine after the March 4 presidential election.
Although the existence of the plot was indirectly confirmed by Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, analysts said the news, which broke just days before the election, is intended to boost Putin’s popularity.
Putin is considered a shoo-in to win the election and return to the presidency.
The Channel One report shows police interrogating a person identified as Ilya Pyanzin, 28.
Pyanzin said he was instructed to carry out a terrorist act by representatives of Umarov, a notorious Chechen terrorist who has claimed responsibility for several bombings in Moscow.
“They told us to go to Odessa first, learn how to make a bomb and then in Moscow to conduct diversions on economic targets,” said Pyanzin, adding that his group’s final plan was to assassinate Putin.
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