Russia: US Ordered Drone Attack on Putin

Washington denies the allegation: 'We had nothing to do with this'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Updated May 4, 2023 8:37 AM CDT
Zelensky: No, We Did Not Send Drones to Assassinate Putin
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends the Supreme State Council of the Union State Russia-Belarus meeting in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 6, 2023.   (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
UPDATE May 4, 2023 8:37 AM CDT

Russia on Thursday claimed the United States orchestrated the alleged drone attack on the Kremlin, which Russian officials paint as a Ukrainian assassination attempt on President Vladimir Putin. "We are well aware that decisions on such a level of terrorist attacks are made not in Kyiv, but in Washington," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, per NBC News. "Kyiv only does what it is told to do." Washington swiftly denied the allegation. "We had nothing to do with this, so Peskov is just lying there, pure and simple," White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told MSNBC. Peskov, meanwhile, said such attempts to "disown" the event were "absolutely ridiculous." Ukraine, meanwhile, has said that Moscow's attempts to blame Kyiv or Washington for the attack are an attempt to muster support for the war on the home front, per the New York Times.

May 4, 2023 12:00 AM CDT

Ukraine's president on Wednesday categorically denied Russia's claim that Ukraine had sent drones overnight to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin. "We don't attack Putin or Moscow. We fight on our territory. We are defending our villages and cities," Volodymyr Zelensky said during a visit to Finland, the BBC reports. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also advised that anything Putin claims be taken with a "very large shaker of salt," and said the US could not confirm Russia's claims of an attack. Russia provided no evidence of its accusations, the New York Times reports.

One of Zelensky's advisers says that any drones flying over Russian locations are likely involved with "guerrilla activities of local resistance forces." It wouldn't make sense for Ukraine to attack Moscow in that way, he notes, but claiming Ukraine had done so could be a tactic by Russia to justify attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine. He suggested Russia could be "preparing a large-scale terrorist provocation."

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While it's still not clear exactly what happened—sources say US intelligence agencies are still investigating—what is clear is that Russia issued what the Times calls a "rare," and extensive, statement publicizing the supposed attack. Why? The newspaper comes to the same conclusion as Zelensky's adviser: "The incident could serve as a pretext for Mr. Putin to launch new strikes on Ukraine, as happened after the fiery attack on Russia’s bridge to Crimea last October." In a piece at the Atlantic, Tom Nichols lays out four possibilities as to what really happened. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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