Ukraine’s security service announced on Monday that it had detained a woman who was allegedly working as an informant for Russia and planning to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The woman, who lived in the town of Ochakiv in the southern Mykolaiv region, was accused of trying to obtain and transmit information about Zelenskyy’s movements and military facilities to the Russian side.
Woman arrested ‘red-handed’ while passing intelligence
According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the woman was arrested “red-handed” while attempting to pass on the intelligence to the Russian officials. The SBU said that the woman was a former saleswoman in a military shop and used her connections to gather information about Zelenskyy’s itinerary during his visit to the Mykolaiv region in June and July. The president visited the region twice to inspect the damage caused by floods and shelling from the Russian forces.
The SBU also released a photo of the suspect with masked agents in a kitchen, blurring the faces of both parties. The SBU said that it had been aware of the plot before the visit and had implemented additional security measures to protect Zelenskyy. The SBU alleged that Russia was planning a “massive airstrike” on the Mykolaiv region and that the woman was trying to provide them with information about the locations of electronic warfare systems and ammunition depots that could be targeted.
Zelenskyy confirms he was informed about the arrest
President Zelenskyy confirmed that he had been informed about the arrest by the head of the SBU, Ivan Bakanov. He said that Bakanov had updated him about the “fight against traitors” and thanked him for his work. Zelenskyy also praised the Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers who were defending the country from the Russian aggression.
Zelenskyy has been a target of several assassination attempts since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. In March, he said that he believed that Russia had made him “target number one” and his family “target number two”. He also said that he had survived over a dozen assassination attempts since the war began, according to his adviser Mikhail Podolyak.
Russia denies involvement in any plots against Zelenskyy
Russia has not commented on the latest arrest, but has previously denied any involvement in any plots against Zelenskyy or his administration. Russia has also rejected any responsibility for the war in Ukraine, claiming that it is an internal conflict between Kyiv and the separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia has also accused Ukraine of violating the Minsk agreements, which were signed in 2015 to end the hostilities and restore peace.
However, Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russia of violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by annexing Crimea in 2014 and supporting the rebels in Donbas with weapons, troops, and propaganda. The war has claimed over 14,000 lives and displaced over a million people. The peace talks have stalled and the ceasefire has been repeatedly broken by both sides.
Ukraine continues to seek international support against Russia
Ukraine has been seeking international support against Russia’s aggression and pressure. Zelenskyy has called for more sanctions on Russia and its allies, as well as more military and humanitarian aid from the West. He has also expressed his desire for Ukraine to join NATO and the European Union, which he sees as guarantees of security and prosperity.
However, Ukraine’s aspirations have faced challenges and delays from some of its partners. NATO has not granted Ukraine a Membership Action Plan, which is a formal step towards joining the alliance. The EU has not offered Ukraine a clear perspective of integration, despite signing an Association Agreement in 2014. Some countries, such as Germany and France, have also advocated for dialogue and compromise with Russia, rather than confrontation and isolation.