Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said his main spy agency had stopped what he cast as a Western plot to kill a prominent Russian journalist The Trumpet gathered.
The president accused the West of plotting to kill Vladimir Solovyev and trying to destroy Russia. It was later reported that members of a nationalist group had been detained in Russia.
Putin said the plot was prevented by the country’s main spy agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB). He offered no evidence to back up his claim.
Speaking to Russia’s top prosecutors, “This morning, the Federal Security Service stopped the activities of a terrorist group that planned to attack and kill one famous Russian TV journalist,” he said.
“They have moved to terror – to preparing the murder of our journalists.”
Interfax News Agency said members of a nationalist group, who were allegedly acting on orders of Ukrainian spies, have been detained by authorities in Russia.
FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov said six neo-nationalist Russian citizens plotted to kill Russian journalist Vladimir Solovyov, a vocal supporter of Mr Putin and the war in Ukraine, at the behest of Ukraine’s state security service (SBU).
The SBU has denied the allegations, which it said were fantasies made up by Moscow.
“The SBU has no plans to assassinate V Solovyov,” it said in a statement.
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Mr Putin claimed the West is trying to destroy Russia from the inside, adding that the CIA was directing attempts to undermine the country and is advising the Ukrainian government.
Russia’s president also said foreign media organisations and social media had been used by the West to fabricate provocations against Russia’s armed forces. Such actions, he said, should be stopped.
Solovyev, a Russian TV journalist, and a host of talk shows whose guests often denigrate Ukraine and justify Moscow’s actions.
Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands of people and displaced millions more.
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin insisted on Monday that Russia was failing in its Ukraine invasion. Austin explicitly said that the US wants to see Russia’s military capabilities weakened.
The two top US officials, speaking at a news conference at an undisclosed location in Poland near the Ukrainian border, made the comments following a trip to Kyiv, where they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pledge US support in the war and announce that US diplomats would be returning to Ukraine.