Putin escaped an assassination attempt not long after launching his war in Ukraine, according to the country’s intelligence leader. Putin was ‘attacked.. by representatives of the Caucasus,’ according to Kyrylo Budanov, about two months ago. The Caucasus encompasses Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and areas of southern Russia.
‘[It was] an absolutely futile attempt, yet it did happen… Budanov stated, ‘It was around two months ago.’ ‘I repeat, this attempt was a failure.’ This event was not well-publicized, but it did occur.’
If genuine, it would be the first known assassination attempt on Putin’s life since he declared war on Ukraine on February 24. Budanov did not link the murder attempt to the Ukraine crisis, although Putin does have a number of long-standing opponents in the region from earlier battles.
He gave the order for Russia to invade Georgia in 2008, which ended in an uneasy stalemate, and he has been fighting Islamist terrorists in the region, including ISIS, for many years. Fighting between Armenia, a close ally of Russia, and Azerbaijan, which included a war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area in 2020, has also destabilised the security environment.
In the early months of this year, shortly before Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine in late February, tensions along their shared border had risen. Putin has claimed to be afraid of assassination since declaring war, when hit squads were dispatched to Ukraine in the early days of the fight to assassinate President Zelensky. In what they believe were kill-or-capture missions by Russian ‘saboteurs,’ Zelensky and his entourage recalled surviving three attempts to storm the presidential mansion in the early hours of the war.
Putin attended the funeral of a far-right leader last month with his ‘nuclear football,’ a briefcase that can launch an assault remotely.
When President Barack Obama paid his tribute to ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, mourners were pushed away, indicating his fear of an assassination attempt. Putin has stated that he has avoided multiple assassination attempts in the past. Putin told filmmaker Oliver Stone in 2017 that he has survived five assassination attempts and that the only reason he is still alive is because he handles his own security.
‘I do my job, the security officers do theirs, and they’re still doing a good job,’ Putin stated in the documentary ‘The Putin Interviews.’ Putin is supposed to travel with his own sniper squad, whose mission is to track down and kill any assailants before they can fire a shot at Putin.