Ukraine detains woman over alleged plot to attack Zelenskyy

Security service says suspect was gathering intelligence to try to find out president’s itinerary on his visit to the southern region of Mykolaiv.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyi sings a national anthem during a commemorative ceremony for Ukrainian servicemen
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was the target of an assassination attempt during a visit to southern Ukraine's Mykolaiv region, the Security Service of Ukraine alleged after making an arrest [Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters]

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) says it has detained a woman accused of helping Russia plot an attack on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a visit to a flood-hit region.

The SBU on Monday said the arrested woman was gathering intelligence to try to find out Zelenskyy’s itinerary ahead of the trip to Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine.

It published a blurred image of the woman being detained by masked officers in a kitchen as well as some phone messages and handwritten notes about military activity.

Ukraine regularly accuses residents who support Russia of passing on information to help Russia’s military. Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging service on Monday that the head of the SBU had updated him about the “fight against traitors”.

Zelenskyy visited Mykolaiv in June after it was hit by flooding caused by the Kakhovka dam breach and in July after shelling.

The SBU said Ukraine was aware of the plot ahead of time and put additional security measures in place during Zelenskyy’s visit.

It alleged the suspect was helping Russia prepare a “massive air strike on the Mykolaiv region”. She was allegedly seeking data on the location of electronic warfare systems and warehouses with ammunition.

The SBU said its officers kept monitoring the suspect to get more information on her Russian handlers and her assignments.

Officers then caught the woman “red-handed” as she tried to pass intelligence data to Russian secret services, the SBU said.

It said the woman lived in the small Mykolaiv town of Ochakiv and formerly worked in a store at a military base there.

She allegedly photographed locations and tried to get information from personal contacts in the area. She may face a charge of unauthorised dissemination of information about the movements of weapons and troops. If convicted, she could serve up to 12 years in prison.

In May, the Kremlin accused Ukraine of attempting a drone attack on the Kremlin with the aim of killing President Vladimir Putin, and Russian officials warned of their right to retaliate. Ukrainian officials denied attacking Putin.

Source: News Agencies