Russian intelligence averts assassination attempt on the head of Crimea, allegedly organized by Ukrainian intelligence

Russia’s Federal Security Service (F.S.B.) said on July 10th that an attempted assassination on the head of the Republic of Crimea was averted with no casualties. Sergei Aksyonov’s life was threatened by a Russian national, allegedly recruited by Ukraine’s S.B.U. intelligence agency as an assassin, who had planted explosives in Aksyonov’s car. The attempt was made in response to an influx in Russian security in the Crimean Peninsula, the formerly autonomous subdivision of Ukraine that Russia illegally annexed in 2014. It has been over 500 days since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the fighting will continue until Russia’s occupying forces have left. That includes Crimea, which Ukraine plans to reclaim full control of.

The suspect in the attempted assassination has not yet been publicly identified, but the F.S.B. said that he arrived in Crimea just under a month ago. “The bomber did not have time to carry out his criminal intentions, as he was detained while extracting the explosive device from its hiding place,” the F.S.B. told reporters. According to Al Jazeera, he is currently being investigated on suspicion of “attempting to commit a terrorist act” and “illegally possessing explosives.”

Aksyonov has sent his deepest thanks to the F.S.B. for deterring the attempt on his life, and is ensuring that proper investigation and punishment are pursued.

The war that began in February 2022 has left 6.3 million Ukrainian refugees and over 9,000 civilians killed, according to the United Nations. Russia’s missile attacks have also caused wide-spread destruction across Ukraine. The price for the repair of the country now stands at $411 billion, and continues to rise as damages incur.

As the war continues to rage, it might be pertinent to wonder at the bomber’s purpose. Ukraine’s counteroffensive has allowed it to reclaim some areas annexed by Russia, from 20% in February 2022 to as low as 17% this July. Officials said on Monday that Ukraine has reclaimed 37.4 square kilometers of territory along the eastern and southern fronts, according to Al Jazeera.

“We are moving forward, step by step! I thank everyone who is defending Ukraine, everyone who is leading this war to Ukraine’s victory,” said Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Although the assassin was allegedly recruited by the S.B.U., this would be a risky path for the agency to take. If the assassination had been successful, would it have impacted the Ukrainian forces’ attempt to recapture their territories? Or was this simply a meaningless act of violence?

Either way, peace will only come into sight when Ukraine has successfully reclaimed its annexed land, or when the fighting pusses Russia out of Ukrainian territory. Neither of these options include the assassination of any leaders on either side.

The success of Ukraine’s counteroffensive is a triumph, but more casualties will not end this war, whether they are assassinations or civilian killings. The assassination attempt allegedly organized by Ukrainian intelligence is a distortion of the nation’s progress towards peace.