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Ukraine-backed radicals considered assassinating RT editor-in-chief – Moscow

A neo-Nazi group in Russia targeted Margarita Simonyan and her husband, the FSB claims

A neo-Nazi group that was allegedly instructed by Kiev to kill TV anchor Vladimir Solovyov had several other targets, including RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, according to video footage released by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

Amid the ongoing Russian military offensive in Ukraine aimed at the “denazification” of the country, the FSB claimed that it had detained a group of neo-Nazis. According to the service, the group had been instructed by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) to kill popular Russian TV host and journalist Vladimir Solovyov. The FSB later released a video of what they said was the detention, search, and questioning of the suspects.

One of the detainees said that the group had been discussing the potential assassinations of the director general of the Sputnik news agency, Dmitry Kiselyov, the editor-in-chief of Sputnik and RT, Margarita Simonyan, and her husband, the prominent film director and TV presenter Tigran Keosayan, as well as TV hosts Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov.

“The murders of people who spread propaganda were discussed, that is, Solovyov, Kiselyov, Skabeeva and Popov, Keosayan, Simonyan,” he said.

Commenting on the news, Simonyan said: “All people are mortal, and to die for not being silent, but for having the luxury of speaking the truth and protecting your Motherland in a way you find right and possible is no scarier than slowly going out from an incurable disease or from inevitably getting old. My attitude towards it is philosophical and Christian.”

The detained suspect also revealed that the SBU had ordered the group to kill Vladimir Solovyov “as soon as possible,” and also discussed “setting cars with symbols of support for the special operation and army recruitment offices on fire.”

The FSB claimed that, during the searches, it seized an explosive device, eight Molotov cocktails, six handguns, a sawed-off hunting rifle, and a grenade. It added that more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition were seized as well, along with fake Ukrainian passports. In the video filmed at the suspects’ apartment, a portrait of Adolf Hitler can also be seen.

In an interview with the Rossiya TV channel, Director of the FSB Alexander Bortnikov revealed some additional details regarding the group. He claimed that it consisted of six Russian citizens from Moscow. All of them have been detained, he said.

According to Bortnikov, the group was related to the neo-Nazi organization ‘National Socialists/White Power.’ The main task of the suspects, Bortnikov claimed, was to “determine the location of the assassination attempt” and therefore, according to him, the members of the group had been following Solovyov around.

Kiev has denied any involvement in the alleged assassination plots, claiming the FSB’s operation was “staged.”

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

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