Russia claims to have foiled an assassination attempt in Crimea

Moscow says Ukraine ordered the alleged attack on Sergey Aksyonov, the Russian-installed head of the annexed peninsula.

Russian-appointed governor of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov
The Russian-appointed governor of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, has thanked authorities, claiming they had saved his life [File:Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters]

Russia has claimed to have thwarted a Ukrainian assassination attempt on Sergey Aksyonov, the Russian-installed head of Crimea.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement on Monday that it had arrested a Russian national recruited as an assassin by Ukraine’s SBU intelligence agency, alleging the suspect had undergone explosives, reconnaissance and sabotage training in Ukraine.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine on the Russian allegation.

It came amid Russian media reports that security has been stepped up in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and that additional security checks are being made on people wanting to cross a bridge from Russia’s southern Krasnodar region into Crimea.

The FSB statement added that the plan had been to blow up Aksyonov’s car, but the agent was detained as he tried to retrieve an explosive device from a hiding place.

The agency did not name the man it detained, but said he was in his mid-30s and had entered Crimea in June. He was being investigated on suspicion of “attempting to commit a terrorist act” and “illegally possessing explosives”.

Aksyonov thanked the FSB for stopping what he called an attempt on the lives of the “Republic of Crimea’s leadership” and said he was sure the individuals who ordered the foiled attack would be found and punished.


Ukraine has pledged to retake full control of Crimea and areas in the east and south of the country that Russia claims to have annexed since launching its invasion in February 2022.

Kyiv has repeatedly said it will not negotiate any peace agreement until every Russian soldier has been removed from Ukrainian territory.

On Monday, Ukraine said its forces had reclaimed 37.4 square kilometres (14.4 square miles) of territory along the eastern and southern fronts in its counteroffensive against Russian troops.

Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said forces were advancing in the Bakhmut direction, adding that Russian troops were attacking in the Lyman, Avdiivka and Mariinka directions in the Donetsk region.

“Heavy fighting is going on there now,” Maliar said on Telegram.

Maliar added that “as a result of improving the operational [tactical] position and aligning the front line”, 9sq km (3.5sq miles) over the past week along the eastern front were reclaimed.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also said Ukraine’s military was progressing despite difficulties.

“Last week was difficult on the front line. But we are making progress,” he wrote on Telegram.

“We are moving forward, step by step! I thank everyone who is defending Ukraine, everyone who is leading this war to Ukraine’s victory!”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies