Putin ally targeted in assassination attempt

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally, Ukrainian-born pro-Russia politician Oleg Tsaryov, is in “severe condition” after surviving an assassination attempt in Crimea where he was shot twice.

Tsaryov was reportedly shot in an unnamed location according to Newsweek.

State-run media reported the assassination attempt on Friday. Tsaryov is in serious condition, according to Vladimir Rogov, who is a Moscow-backed official stationed in the southern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine. He clarified that the Putin ally was shot and not stabbed due to conflicting reports swirling around on social media.

“Oleg’s condition is very serious. He is currently in intensive care. There was no stabbing. Oleg was shot,” Rogov wrote on Telegram while asking his subscribers to pray for him. “Oleg is fighting for his life. After the attempt on his life tonight, Oleg lost a lot of blood.”

A Russian military correspondent named Yuri Kotenok verified that account on Friday, stating that Tsaryov was currently in intensive care in serious condition with a gunshot wound.

“And a law enforcement source told Russian news outlet Kommersant that Tsaryov was ‘attacked,’ without elaborating,” Newsweek reported.

Ambulances arrived at Tsaryov’s home in Yalta, in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, during the night on Friday according to Russian media. News outlet PolitNavigator posted a 16-second video on social media platform VKontakte that showed first responders rushing to attend to the Putin ally at his home.

“The former Ukrainian lawmaker had been named as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s possible choice to lead regime change in Kyiv, a Western intelligence official told the Financial Times in an interview published on February 14, 2022, days before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began. Tsaryov had dismissed the possibility that he was handpicked by Putin to run a puppet government in Kyiv,” the news outlet noted.

Tsaryov previously told the Financial Times in an interview that the idea was “pretty funny” because he was just running a wellness business in Crimea and was “not important enough.”

Tsaryov is a former deputy of the Ukrainian parliament and has been sentenced in absentia to 12 years in prison by Ukrainian authorities for calling for separatism. He has been a supporter of Russia since 2014 after Putin’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

“Tsaryov served as a member of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada parliament from 2002 to 2014, when he switched sides to support the Russian proxy forces seeking to secede from Ukraine. In 2014 he became the speaker of the parliament of ‘Novorossiya,’ a short-lived confederation of the Donetsk and Luhansk separatist governments that had been endorsed by the Kremlin and openly sought an annexation into Russia,” The Guardian reported.

“Tsaryov is wanted by Ukraine on charges of separatism. He is the latest of a number of Russian nationalists and pro-Russian Ukrainians to be targeted in assassination attempts. Some of the attacks are believed to have links to Ukrainian intelligence,” the news outlet continued.

As usual, Russian and Ukrainian officials are staying mum on the matter.

“Strikes in Crimea, which is Russia’s central logistics hub for its forces in southern Ukraine, have become routine in recent months amid Kyiv’s counteroffensive to reclaim territory occupied by Russian forces,” Newsweek wrote.

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