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Ukraine says Russian informant has been detained in Zelenskyy assassination plot

The woman was sharing intelligence with the Russians to set up an airstrike during the president's recent visit to the southern region of Mykolaiv, Ukraine’s security service said.
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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine said Monday it had detained an informant who was sharing intelligence with Russia as part of a plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The woman "was preparing an enemy airstrike on Mykolaiv region" during Zelenskyy's recent visit, Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, said in a statement released online

The SBU said the woman, who was not publicly identified, was collecting information, including the time and a list of locations Zelenskyy planned to attend in the southern region. 

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a meeting with Ireland's prime minister at Horodetsky House in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 19.Clodah Kilcoyne / AFP - Getty Images

A spokesperson for the SBU confirmed that Ukraine was saying Zelenskyy was the target of the attack.

The SBU said that it learned of the alleged plot in time and that "additional security measures were taken during the visit."

A woman, center, being detained by law enforcement after she was accused of plotting to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
A woman was detained after she was accused of involvement in a plot to assassinate Zelenskyy.Ukraine Security Service

Zelenskyy regularly moves around the country, visiting front lines and liberated cities, under strict security. In the early days of the war, he was thought to be a primary target for Moscow’s forces and the subject of a number of foiled assassination attempts.

The SBU’s statement said it continued to document the woman’s actions to learn more about her alleged Russian handlers and learned that she was also instructed to locate the Ukrainian army’s strategic assets near the town of Ochakiv in the Mykolaiv region, which the SBU claimed the Russians were planning to use to launch a massive airstrike on the region.

The woman was apprehended "red-handed" as she was trying to pass intelligence to the Russians, the statement said. 

She was identified only as a resident of Ochakiv and a former military shop saleswoman. She faces up to 12 years in prison if she is convicted. 

NBC News has not independently verified the Ukrainian claims. There was no immediate public reaction from the Kremlin.

In May, Russia claimed Ukraine tried to assassinate President Vladimir Putin in a drone attack on the Kremlin, which Ukraine denied. Unlike Zelenskyy, Putin rarely makes public appearances near the front lines or even inside Russia.

Kyiv and Moscow have been striking deep behind each other's defensive lines in recent weeks, while Ukraine's counteroffensive has so far failed to produce a clear breakthrough on the battlefield.

Artem Grudinin reported from Kyiv, and Yuliya Talmazan reported from London.