US denies Russian accusation drone attack to assassinate Putin

MOSCOW – Russia accused the United States on Thursday of being behind what it says was a drone attack on Moscow’s Kremlin citadel intended to kill President Vladimir Putin.

The US responded by saying the claims are false.

“I can assure you that there was no involvement by the United States in this. Whatever it was did not involve us,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told MSNBC in an interview. “We had nothing to do with this.”

A day after blaming Ukraine for what it called a terrorist attack, the Kremlin administration shifted the focus onto the US, but without providing evidence to support its accusation.

Ukraine has denied involvement in the incident in the early hours of Wednesday, when video footage showed two flying objects approaching the Senate Palace inside the Kremlin walls and one exploding with a bright flash.

“Attempts to disown this, both in Kyiv and in Washington, are, of course, absolutely ridiculous. We know very well that decisions about such actions, about such terrorist attacks, are made not in Kyiv but in Washington,” said Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

He said the US was “undoubtedly” behind the alleged attack and added – again without stating evidence – that Washington often selected both the targets for Ukraine to attack, and the means to attack them.

“This is also often dictated from across the ocean. We know this well and are aware of this… In Washington they must clearly understand that we know this.”

Mr Kirby said it was still unclear what exactly happened at the Kremlin.

“We still don’t really know what happened” and Washington is still assessing the situation, he said.

Mr Peskov “is just lying there”, Mr Kirby said.

Russia has said with increasing frequency that it sees the US as a direct participant in the Ukraine war, intent on inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Moscow.

The US denies that, saying it is arming Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s invasion and retake territory that Moscow has seized illegally in more than 14 months of war.

Calls to kill Zelensky

But Mr Peskov’s allegation that the US was behind a plot to kill Mr Putin went further than previous Kremlin accusations against Washington.

Mr Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time, and security analysts have poured scorn on the idea that the incident was a serious assassination attempt.

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