US officials have told The New York Times that they believe the drone attack on the Kremlin that took place earlier this month was likely carried out by one of Ukraine’s special military or intelligence units.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they did not know which Ukrainian unit carried out the attack or if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was aware of the operation. Moscow said the drone attack was an attempt on President Vladimir Putin’s life.
The report came after Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, told the German publication Welt that Ukrainian intelligence is trying to kill Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Kremlin drone attack was part of Ukraine’s broad covert campaign inside Russia, which includes assassinations and attacks in Russian regions near the Ukrainian border.
The US officials said they believe Ukraine has been responsible for the assassination of the daughter of the Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, Darya Dugina, and the killing of a Russian blogger and war correspondent, Vladlen Tatarsky.
The US officials also believe the Ukrainians are behind the frequent attacks in Russian towns near the border, including a raid on Monday that was launched using US armored vehicles by Russians who have been fighting for Kyiv. One group, known as the Russian Volunteer Corps, has members who are open neo-Nazis.
According to the Times, the officials said they don’t think Zelensky signs off on each covert action and suspect the Ukrainian president “and his top aides have set the broad parameters of the covert campaign, leaving decisions about who and what to target to the security services and their operatives.”
Ukraine’s attacks inside Russia risk a major escalation of the war, especially since Moscow believes the operations are being supported by the US. After the Kremlin drone attack, Moscow said the “decisions to carry out such actions” are being made in Washington.