The would-be assassins were detained, and explosives and firearms seized, Russia says
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed on Monday that it detained a group of “neo-Nazis” instructed by Kiev to kill popular Russian TV host and journalist Vladimir Solovyov.
According to the FSB, the hit was ordered by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). “The members of the criminal group are confessing to preparing to kill Solovyov and flee abroad afterwards.”
The FSB said that during searches, it seized an explosive device, eight Molotov cocktails, six handguns, a sawed-off hunting rifle, and a grenade. It added that more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition were seized as well, along with fake Ukrainian passports.
The statement followed shortly after President Vladimir Putin said that “a terrorist group was planning to attack and kill a well-known Russian journalist.”
“They will deny it, obviously, but the facts and evidence are solid,” he added, speaking at a meeting of the Prosecutor General’s Office Board earlier in the day.
Solovyov, 58, hosts a popular political talk show on Russia 1 TV, the ‘Full Contact’ radio show, and actively comments on social media. The veteran journalist is known for his pro-government position and has strongly supported Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
In February, the EU put the presenter – along with 374 other Russians – on a no-fly and asset-freeze list. In early March, YouTube blocked his two channels, claiming they violated the platforms’ community guidelines.
In a statement on social media, the SBU denied that it had ever planned to kill Solovyov and dismissed the allegations as “fantasies of the Russian secret services.”
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.
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