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US believes elements within Ukraine’s government authorized assassination near Moscow, sources say

A portrait of Russian Daria Dugina, who was killed in a car bomb explosion the previous week, is displayed near her coffin during a farewell ceremony at the Ostankino TV centre in Moscow on August 23, 2022. -
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
A portrait of Russian Daria Dugina, who was killed in a car bomb explosion the previous week, is displayed near her coffin during a farewell ceremony at the Ostankino TV centre in Moscow on August 23, 2022. -

By Natasha Bertrand and Katie Bo Lillis, CNN

The US intelligence community believes that the car bombing that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of prominent Russian political figure Alexander Dugin, was authorized by elements within the Ukrainian government, sources briefed on the intelligence told CNN.

The US was not aware of the plan beforehand, according to the sources, and it is still unclear who exactly the US believes signed off on the assassination. It is also not clear whether the US intelligence community believes that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was aware of the plot or authorized it.

But the intelligence finding, first reported by the New York Times, would seem to corroborate elements of the Russian authorities’ findings that the car bombing was “pre-planned.” Russia had accused Ukrainian nationals of being responsible for the attack, which Ukraine had strongly denied in the aftermath of the explosion.

Ukrainian government officials did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests for comment.

The NSC, CIA and State Department declined to comment.

US intelligence officials believe that Dugina was driving her father’s car on the night she was killed, and that her father was the actual target of the operation, one of the sources said. Dugin is a Russian ultranationalist and philosopher who has been a fierce proponent of Russia’s war in Ukraine. A friend of Dugina also told the Russian state owned news outlet TASS shortly after the explosion that the car she was driving was her father’s.

The intelligence surrounding Ukraine’s involvement, if accurate, would signal a bold expansion of Ukraine’s covert operations to target a well-known political figure just outside of Moscow.

To date, Ukrainian strikes inside Russia have largely been limited to attacks on fuel depots and military bases in cities along the Russia-Ukraine border, like Belgorod. But the US does not have good visibility into all of Ukraine’s planned strikes, sources told CNN.

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