LONDON — The head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin survived an assassination attempt two months ago.
Speaking to the Ukrainian news outlet Pravda Ukraine, Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov said there was an “unsuccessful” attempt against the Kremlin leader’s life at the start of Russia’s brutal invasion of its neighbor.
“Putin was assassinated,” Budanov told the news outlet. “He was even attacked in the line of, as they say, representatives of the Caucasus not so long ago. This is nonpublic information. Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really took place. … It was about two months ago.”
Pravda said the full interview with the intelligence chief would air on Tuesday.
In an interview for the 2017 documentary series “The Putin Interviews” with director Oliver Stone, it was said that the Kremlin leader had escaped at least five assassination attempts.
“It will eventually lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation,” he said. “This process has already been launched.” When asked if a “coup” was underway, he told Sky News: “Yes. … They are moving in this way, and it is impossible to stop it.”
According to Sky News, Budanov doubled down after it was suggested that he was spreading propaganda. “It’s my job, it’s my work — if not me, who will know this?” he said.
He added that since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, Russian forces’ military tactics have not changed, despite their shift in focus to eastern Ukraine.
“The breaking point will be in the second part of August,” he said. “Most of the active combat actions will have finished by the end of this year. As a result, we will renew Ukrainian power in all our territories that we have lost, including Donbas and the Crimea.”
Sky News noted that Budanov’s earlier prediction that Russia would invade this year — at a time when other officials were skeptical — had been correct.