Russia accused the United States on Thursday of being behind what it says was a drone attack on the Moscow Kremlin aimed at killing President Vladimir Putin.
The United States responded by saying that the claims are false.
I can assure you that the USA was not involved in this. “Whatever it was, we were not involved,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said in an interview with MSNBC.
We had nothing to do with this.
A day after accusing Ukraine of what it called a terrorist attack, the Kremlin administration shifted its focus to the United States, but without providing evidence to back up the allegations.
Ukraine has denied involvement in the incident in the early hours of Wednesday, when video footage showed two flying objects approaching the Senate Palace inside the Kremlin walls and one exploding with a bright flash of light.
Attempts to deny this, both in Kyiv and in Washington, are of course completely ridiculous. We know very well that decisions about such actions, about such terrorist attacks, are not made in Kyiv, but in Washington, said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
He said the US was “undoubtedly” behind the alleged attack and added – again without providing evidence – that Washington often chooses the targets Ukraine attacks and how they attack them.
This is also often dictated from the other side of the Atlantic. We know this well and are ready over here ……. In Washington, they must clearly understand that we know this, Peskov continued.
Kirby said it is still unclear what really happened in the Kremlin.
We still don’t know exactly what happened and Washington is still assessing the situation, he said.
Russia has increasingly said it sees the US as a direct participant in the war in Ukraine, intent on inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Moscow.
The US denies this and says it is arming Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s invasion and recapture territory Moscow has illegally seized during more than 14 months of war.
Peskov’s claim that the US is behind a plot to kill Putin goes further than previous accusations by the Kremlin against Washington.
Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time, and security analysts have scoffed at the idea that the incident was a serious assassination attempt.
But Russia has said it reserves the right to retaliate, and some, including former President Dmitry Medvedev, have said they should now “physically eliminate” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Peskov declined to say whether Russia saw Zelensky as a legitimate target.
He said Russia has a number of options and that the response, when it comes, will be carefully considered and balanced.
Peskov also said an urgent investigation is underway, but could not say when the results would be known.
Putin was in the Kremlin on Thursday and the employees were working as normal, he said.
The incident took place less than a week before Russia’s celebration of Victory Day on May 9, which marks the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, an important holiday and an opportunity for Putin to rally Russians behind what he calls Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Peskov said the air force will be on higher alert, which will happen anyway because of the military parade in Red Square, the centrepiece of the holiday, just over the Kremlin wall from the site of the alleged attack.
He said the parade would proceed as normal and would include a speech from the president.