Ukraine’ security services have thwarted a plot to kill Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, according to Russian officials.
Two suspects were detained in the Ukrainian port of Odessa, Russia’s state-owned Channel One TV reports.
The two men were both shown on TV admitting their involvement in the plot, after an explosion at a flat in January in which one suspect died.
The attack was to happen after next Sunday’s presidential vote.
Vladimir Putin is expected to win the election and get a third term as president.
The two men were both shown on Russian TV, one being interrogated and the other giving an interview.
In the footage, both admit plotting to attack Vladimir Putin. One, identified by Ria Novosti as Ilya Pyanzin, said he had been hired by Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov to carry out the killing and also by Ruslan Madayev, the suspect who died in the Odessa explosion.
The other suspect was named by Channel One as Adam Osmayev, said to have been on an international wanted list since 2007.
The plotters were planning to plant mines on Kutuzovsky Avenue in Moscow, used by Vladimir Putin on a daily basis, the report said.
The Russian prime minister’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed the report, without making any further comment.
Russian media report that Dmitry Pyanzin was arrested in the Odessa flat where the explosion happened. He told police that he and Madayev had flown to Ukraine from the United Arab Emirates via Turkey, with precise instructions from representatives of Doku Umarov.
According to the reports, details of the plot were found on laptops in the flat, along with a video showing Vladimir Putin’s motorcade.
Adam Osmayev was reported to be the local fixer in Odessa and the instructor for the plotters, and had lived for a long time in London.