by Susan Katz Keating
After saying that Putin does know what’s happening in Ukraine, the Kremlin on Thursday made another unusual statement, this time saying no one tried to kill the Russian president this week.
Reports emerged Sept. 14 on Telegram that Putin’s convoy was attacked while en route through Moscow. Attackers were not fooled by a decoy convoy, and targeted Putin’s car. According to the report, Putin’s car was damaged, but made it out of the kill zone with Putin intact.
Versions of the report appeared in various international press outlets, describing a dramatic event as follows.
The left front wheel of Vladimir Putin’s limousine was hit, Euro Weekly reported, saying that the President’s car was quickly driven to safety as smoke emerged out of it. A number of arrests have been made in connection with the assassination attempt, the report said.
But the attack didn’t happen, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. No one tried to assassinate Vladimir Putin, Peskov told the state owned news organization, TASS.
“When asked whether those reports had any factual basis, Putin’s press secretary replied to TASS: ‘No,’ ” the outlet wrote.
This is the second “Putin clarification” statement this week from a Kremlin that typically ignores rumors or speculation about the Russian president.
Amid reports that Russian forces are on the run in Ukraine, the Kremlin on Monday made the unusual move of insisting that President Vladimir Putin really does know what’s going on in his “special military operation.” Peskov made the comments in the wake of additional reports that some officials in Russia have asked Putin to resign.
“Putin receives reports on everything that is everything going on during the special military operation, including on the regrouping of Russian troops,” Peskov told journalists, according to Tass.
Previously, the Kremlin has not tried to assure the public that the former KGB man Putin is anything but fully informed. But widespread news reports have depicted a Russian army in disarray, raising questions about leadership. Additionally, Putin is facing new types of challenges from inside Russia.
Officials from 18 districts in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the town of Kolpino have signed a petition demanding Putin’s resignation, saying his actions are “damaging Russia’s future and its citizens.”
Now, Moscow proclaimed what has been a given, that the nation’s leader knows what’s happening in Ukraine.
“Of course, everything that happens, anything that the military does during the special operation is reported to the commander-in-chief,” Peskov said.
Putin is in “constant, one might even say round-the-clock communication with both the defense minister and all military commanders,” Peskov said. “Naturally, it cannot be otherwise during a special military operation.”
When asked is Putin remains confident in his military commanders, Peskov responded that “the special military operation continues and will continue until all the goals that were initially set are achieved.”
The Kremlin spokesman did not comment on reports that Putin had fired the commander of the Western Military District.
“This should be referred to the Defense Ministry,” Peskov said.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sept. 10 that Russian troops in the Balakleya and Izyum areas have regrouped in order to focus on Donetsk.