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Russia’s domestic security service (FSB) officially blamed Ukraine for a Moscow car bombing that killed the daughter of top Putin ally Alexander Dugin on Monday.
Ukrainian officials have denied any involvement. Russia’s FSB says the attack was both targeted at Dugin and “prepared and perpetrated by the Ukrainian special services.”
The intelligence organization says a Ukrainian citizen, Natalia Vovk, carried out the attack before fleeing the country to Estonia. Vovk allegedly entered Russia on July 23 with her 12-year-old daughter, Sofia Shaban, and reportedly rented an apartment in the same building as Dugina.
The FSB alleges that Vovk used three separate license plates during her time in Moscow. She entered Russia using plates from the so-called Dontesk People’s Republic, a Ukrainian rebel state. While in Moscow, she used plates from Kazakhstan, and she fled the country using Ukrainian plates, according to the FSB.
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Daria Dugina, a 29-year-old nationalist commentator, was killed while driving her father’s SUV on Saturday evening. She was leaving a festival after listening to her father, a top Russian philosopher and political theorist, deliver a speech on Russian tradition and history.
Dugin is one of Russia’s top advocates for the invasion of Ukraine and has earned the nickname “Putin’s brain” for his close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Dugin was reportedly supposed to be in the vehicle with his daughter but chose to ride in another vehicle at the last minute.
FSB’s word should not be fully trusted, and the incentive for speedy results may have hampered the organization’s accuracy, Rebekah Koffler, a strategic intelligence expert and author of ‘Putin’s Playbook’ told Fox News Digital.
“We cannot fully trust the FSB. Ever. That doesn’t mean that the results of their preliminary investigation of Daria Dugina’s death is incorrect.” Koffler said. “The FSB is under tremendous pressure to deliver some quick results, given that this is a super high-profile death,”
“Daria Dugina is not an ordinary individual. She, like her father, is a symbol of the ideology of ‘The Russian World,’ which is a spin-off of Eurasianism, that her father is the thought leader for,” she added. “It is the ideology that Putin has based his entire geopolitical and security strategy around. Putin is almost certainly highly invested in this investigation, and he would want to show a swift response, hence the probability of mistaken analysis is there.”
Ukraine urged its government workers to stay home this week out of fear of retaliatory attacks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had already warned on Saturday that Russia may plan something “particularly nasty” as Ukraine prepares to celebrate its Independence Day on Wednesday.
“We should be aware that this week Russia may try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel. Such is our enemy. But in any other week during these six months, Russia did the same thing all the time – disgusting and cruel,” Zelenskyy said during a Saturday video address.
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“One of the key tasks of the enemy is to humiliate us, Ukrainians, to devalue our capabilities, our heroes, to spread despair, fear, to spread conflicts … Therefore, it is important never, for a single moment, to give in to this enemy pressure, not to wind oneself up, not to show weakness,” he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.