Kremlin reacts to ‘Putin drone assassination’ claim

A German tabloid had quoted Ukrainian activists boasting of targeting Moscow

Responding to claims that Ukraine had attempted to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin by drone, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov brushed them off on Thursday as “yellow fabrications.”

“No, we are not familiar with these reports,” Peskov told reporters. “There are many such ‘yellow fabrications’ these days. There’s no reason to pay them any mind.”

On Wednesday, the German tabloid Bild published a story titled ‘17 kilos of explosives were supposed to kill Putin’, claiming that the Ukrainian drone that crashed near Moscow on Sunday had targeted the Russian president himself, and that the Russian authorities were trying to cover it up.

Bild quoted Ukrainian activist Yuri Romanenko, who claimed the Ukrainian intelligence sent the drone to target Putin during his visit to the Rudnevo industrial park outside Moscow. The drone allegedly passed through the Russian air defenses undetected and crashed “not far” from the target location. The German outlet described Romanenko as someone with “close ties” to Kiev’s intelligence services.

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The crash of the UJ-22 drone on Sunday was widely reported in Russian media, however. The UAV was found in the Bogorodsky district, about 30 kilometers from Moscow’s eastern outskirts and some 20 km from Rudnevo. It had 30 blocks of C4 explosive, about 17 kilograms, on board. Three more drones, all of the smaller quadcopter variety, were discovered near the Russian capital on Monday.

The same day, Ukraine’s propaganda service Euromaidan PR tweeted out a video purporting to show footage of Moscow taken by Ukrainian drones, taking responsibility for the quadcopters and leaving a threatening message, “We are closer than you think.”

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FILE PHOTO: Journalists attend the presentation of a UJ-22 Airborne drone in August 2022.
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The platform’s Community Notes quickly fact-checked the claim, however, revealing that the drone footage actually came from an old YouTube video.

Putin’s planned visit to Rudnevo at some point this week was mentioned by Russian media on Sunday. The president arrived at the industrial park on Thursday, spending over an hour in a meeting with thirty officials and representatives of Russia’s aerospace industry. Putin called drone aviation a field of “critical importance” for economic sovereignty, in which Russia should strive to not merely keep pace with the competition, but be “a step ahead.” He also discussed the importance of mass production of Russian UAVs. 

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