Russia says Kyiv behind shooting of Ukrainian pro-Moscow separatist leader

Oleg Tsaryov (C) was shot twice in his home in Yalta, Crimea, last week [File: Anastasia Vlasova/EPA]

The FSB arrested a 46-year-old Russian man in Crimea for allegedly acting as an accomplice, Russian state media reports.

Russia has accused the Ukrainian government of carrying out the attempted assassination of former Ukrainian Member of Parliament and Moscow-backed separatist Oleg Tsaryov.

The Russian state news agency TASS reported on Tuesday that the FSB, Russia’s federal security agency, had arrested a 46-year-old Russian man who resides in Crimea for allegedly acting as an accomplice.

The FSB said that the suspect confessed to his role in helping coordinate the plot by conducting surveillance and leaving a cache of weapons, saying that he acted “on the instructions of Ukraine’s security service”.

The pro-Russian politician and businessman Tsaryov was shot twice in his home in Yalta, Crimea, last week. The FSB has said that he is in “satisfactory” condition.

Media reports had identified Tsaryov as the potential leader of a prospective puppet government in Kyiv that Russia had hoped to install when it launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

That plan was denied by Tsaryov, who told the news outlet Reuters, which reported on the prospective plan, that the account had “very little to do with reality”.

Ukrainian media outlets and the news service Reuters reported last week that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) was responsible for the assassination effort on Tsaryov, who a Ukrainian source told Reuters was an “absolutely legal” target.

The 53-year-old, who owns a hotel in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, was a former member of Ukraine’s parliament.

When Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine began fighting Ukrainian forces in 2014, Tsaryov became the leader of the separatist parliament known as Novorossiya.

He has been sanctioned by Ukraine, the United States, and several other Western countries and is listed as a “traitor to the Motherland” by Ukraine.



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