The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced on Oct. 31 that it had detained an individual believed to be the coordinator of an assassination plot targeting Oleg Tsaryov, a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician. Tsaryov was reportedly being lined up to lead a puppet administration in Kyiv, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

According to Russian special services, the detainee is a 46-year-old resident of Yalta, alleged to have organized surveillance on Tsaryov under the instructions of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

Additionally, the individual is said to have prepared a hidden cache in the city containing “means of destruction” intended for use in the assassination attempt.

During searches related to the arrest, authorities discovered an improvised explosive device ready for use, components for its construction, means for covert communication with Ukrainian handlers, photographs of Tsaryov, and schematics detailing his residences and workplaces.

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The FSB further revealed that the detainee has confessed to his involvement in the plot.

Tsaryov, an ex-MP and Moscow-backed anti-Kyiv separatist is in a serious condition after being shot in Crimea in the early hours of Oct. 27, his family said in a statement on his Telegram channel.

“Around midnight, he was shot twice on the territory of the resort where he lives,” the statement said.

“Oleg was unconscious and had lost a lot of blood,” it added.

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A source in the SBU told Kyiv Post: "He has long been on the list of traitors who must answer for their crimes. Tsaryov is an absolutely legitimate target.

The source added: “This is not just a fanatic of the 'Russian world' but a person who personally came together with Russian tanks to seize Kyiv.”

Tsaryov, 53, was a pro-Russia lawmaker in Ukraine's parliament before a 2013-2014 revolution swept a pro-European government to power in Kyiv.

After Russia responded by seizing Crimea and civil war broke out, he became a separatist leader in eastern Ukraine.

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According to several reports, US intelligence agencies believe the Kremlin was considering Tsaryov as a possible choice to lead a puppet government in Kyiv if its offensive succeeded in removing President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine, the US and several other Western countries have sanctioned Tsaryov, AFP reports.

“Kyiv will be free of fascists... Victory is inevitable,” he wrote on his Telegram page on Feb. 24, 2022 – the day Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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