The US was not engaged in the Moscow vehicle bombing, according to unnamed intelligence operatives. However, US spies admitted that Ukraine assassinated Darya Dugina.
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According to the New York Times, US intelligence believe that the Moscow vehicle bombing that murdered journalist Darya Dugina in August was sanctioned by “parts” of the Ukrainian government.
The unidentified intelligence operatives also stated that Washington had not been complicit in any manner, that they would have condemned the operation if they had known about it, and that they afterwards “admonished” Kiev, none of which could be independently corroborated.
Dugina was assassinated on the outskirts of Moscow on August 20 when the automobile she was driving exploded. Russian officials blamed Kiev and identified two Ukrainian nationals as suspects, but never accused the US of any involvement in the assassination.
“The United States took no part in the attack, either by providing intelligence or other assistance,” the anonymous officials told the Times. They “also said they were not aware of the operation ahead of time and would have opposed the killing had they been consulted,” according to the story.
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According to the Times, the “closely held assessment of Ukrainian complicity” was communicated with the US government last week. The agents were apparently worried that such a “covert campaign” would “widen the conflict” and were “frustrated with Ukraine’s lack of transparency about its military and covert plans, especially on Russian soil.”
“While Russia has not retaliated in a specific way for the assassination, the US is concerned that such attacks – while high in symbolic value – have little direct impact on the battlefield and could provoke Moscow to carry out its own strikes against senior Ukrainian officials,” some of whom have “less protection” than President Vladimir Zelensky, the Times wrote.
The unnamed spies withheld information about who in Kiev may have ordered the hit, who carried it out, whether Zelensky gave his OK, who in Ukraine received the “admonishments” from Washington, and what Ukraine may have done in response.
Mikhail Podoliak, a Zelensky advisor, was one Ukrainian official who spoke to the Times and initially asserted that Ukraine had “nothing to do with this.” The targeted assassinations of pro-Russian officials and civilians, according to Podoliak, were “certainly not terrorist or, strictly speaking, criminal” last month, he added in an interview with Ukrainian media.
When questioned about the latest US intelligence assessment, Podoliak told the Times on Tuesday that “any murder during wartime in some country or another must carry with it some kind of practical significance,” and that “someone like Dugina is not a tactical or strategic target for Ukraine.”
“We have other targets on the territory of Ukraine,” he said, “I mean collaborationists and representatives of the Russian command, who might have value for members of our special services working in this program, but certainly not Dugina.”
Dugina was characterized as “the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist,” Aleksandr Dugin, who was himself a “a leading proponent of an aggressive, imperialist Russia” by the US outlet. It further stated that the United States and the European Union had sanctioned her for “spreading Russian propaganda about Ukraine” and adopting her father’s worldview.