Putin said his security services thwarted a ‘terrorist group’ plotting to kill a ‘notable Russian TV journalist’, before state media announced the target was Vladimir Solovyev and claimed the plotters were ‘neo-Nazis’ acting on orders from Kyiv.
FSB agents arrested members of the group Monday, state news agency RIA Novosti claimed, while seizing bombs, Molotov cocktails, handguns, a rifle, and grenades.
The announcement came just hours after Solovyev appeared on his regular Sunday night talk show to threaten the West with nuclear weapons.
Vladimir Putin and Russian state media today claimed the FSB had foiled a plot to assassinate Vladimir Solovyev – a prominent state propagandist
‘On the subject of us using nuclear weapons,’ Solovyev told his viewers, ‘let me remind them of the phrase used by our supreme commander-in-chief…
‘”Why do we need a world in which there is no Russia?”
‘So if anyone thinks we’re bluffing, they should pay attention to the behaviour of our supreme commander. He never bluffs.’
Addressing state prosecutors on Monday morning about priorities for the courts amid his invasion of Ukraine, Putin brought up the assassination plot.
‘This morning, the Federal Security Service stopped the activities of a terrorist group that planned to attack and kill one famous Russian TV journalist,’ Putin said.
‘They have moved to terror – to preparing the murder of our journalists.’
A short time later, state news wire RIA Novosti published an article identifying Solovyev as the intended target.
Ukraine’s State Security Service says it had no plans to assassinate Solovyev.
According to state media, the FSB had ‘detained a group of members of the [banned] neo-Nazi terrorist organization National Socialism / White Power.
Russian state media said the plot had been orchestrated from Kyiv, as Putin accused Ukraine of threatening journalists (Putin pictured with Solovyev in 2013)
Solovyev has been one of the leading voices of Russia’s information war against Ukraine, pushing Kremlin narratives of a ‘special military operation’ to ‘de-Nazify’ the country (file)
During searches, police seized explosive devices, eight Molotov cocktails, six pistols, a swan-off rifle, a grenade and more than a thousand rounds of ammunition.
State media also claimed to have uncovered drugs, fake Ukrainian passports, and Ukrainian nationalist literature.
RIA said the arrested men – acting on order from Kyiv – had plotted to kill Solovyev before fleeing overseas.
The channel did not say where exactly the arrests took place, or how many people were arrested in total.
Solovyev has been one of the Kremlin’s leading voices in the information war against Ukraine – pushing Putin’s narrative of a ‘special military operation’ to ‘de-Nazify’ the country on the Russian public after independent media was largely shut down.
Alongside the likes of foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, spokesman Maria Zakharova, and UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, he has also led denials that Russian troops are targeting Ukrainian civilians.
According to their accounts, atrocities are being carried out by Ukraine and its Western allies as ‘provocations’ that are being blamed on Russia to justify further military action.
Solovyev has denied reports that Russia is targeting Ukrainian civilians (pictured) while also threatening the West with nukes
In recent weeks, Solovyev also also broken with the Kremlin line in order to castigate the military for the loss of warship Moskva and to say that war with Ukraine is not enough – and that soon Russia will be fighting the whole of NATO.
Speaking on April 20, two days after the Moskva sank, Solovyev declared: ‘I believe the special operation is entering a new phase.
‘Ukrainians alone are no longer enough. Now they’re talking about NATO countries – supplying de-facto their own weapons.
‘We’ll see not only NATO’s weapons being drawn into this but also their operators.
‘De-facto we’re starting to wage war against NATO countries. We’ll be grinding up NATO’s war machine as well as citizens of NATO countries.’
As news of the Solovyev ‘assassination plot’ broke on Monday, the US confirmed it is sending another $700million shipment of military aid to Ukraine so that it can ‘win the fight’ against Russia.
It came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin paid a personal visit to Kyiv to meet with Volodymyr Zelensky.
Speaking from Poland after the meeting, Austin told reporters: We want to see Russia weakened to the degree it cannot do the kind things that it has done [to] Ukraine.’
Monica has a BA in Journalism and English from the University of Massachusetts and an MS in Journalism and Communications from Quinnipiac University. Monica has worked as a journalist for over 20 years covering all things entertainment. She has covered everything from San Diego Comic-Con, The SAG Awards, Academy Awards, and more. Monica has been published in Variety, Swagger Magazine, Emmy Magazine, CNN, AP, Hidden Remote, and more. For the past 10 years, she has added PR and marketing to her list of talents as the president of Prime Entertainment Publicity, LLC. Monica is ready for anything and is proudly obsessed with pop culture.