Russia’s FSB arrests suspected accomplice in hit on Ukrainian ex-lawmaker Tsaryov

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Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained a suspected accomplice in the attempted killing of former Ukrainian lawmaker and pro-Russian politician and businessman Oleg Tsaryov, the Russian state news agency TASS reported on Tuesday.

The FSB said the suspect, a 46-year-old Russian resident of Yalta in Crimea, had confessed to organizing surveillance of Tsaryov, who also lives in the town, at the behest of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), and to leaving a cache of weapons for use in the assassination attempt last week.

Tsaryov was shot twice around midnight on the night of October 26 in Yalta, on the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

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The FSB said his current condition was “satisfactory” and that his family had been given additional security provisions, TASS reported.

A Ukrainian intelligence source said on October 27 that the SBU was responsible for the attempted assassination, one of several on prominent pro-Moscow figures since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The source described Tsaryov as an “absolutely legal target.”

Three sources familiar with Russia’s plans told Reuters last year that Moscow had been looking to Tsaryov to head a puppet government in Kyiv if it had succeeded in its advance on Kyiv to oust President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the first days of the war in February 2022.

Tsaryov, who runs hotels in Crimea, said Reuters’ account had “very little to do with reality.”

The 53-year-old was previously a member of the Ukrainian parliament and then speaker of the parliament of “Novorossiya,” an entity formed after Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine broke away in 2014 and began fighting Ukrainian forces.

Tsaryov is listed as a “traitor to the motherland” by Myrotvorets (“Peacemaker”), a vast unofficial Ukrainian database of people considered to be enemies of the country that gives personal information on him including an email address, a passport number and an address in Yalta.

Tsaryov has been placed under sanctions by Ukraine, the United States and a number of other Western countries.

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