US believes Ukraine was behind bombing that killed Alexander Dugin’s daughter

WASHINGTON – US intelligence agencies United States believe that members of the Ukrainian government authorized the attack that killed Daria Duginadaughter of the ideologue Alexander Dugin, Putin’s guru, in August. If confirmed, the fact is part of a secret action by Ukrainians and could worsen the war with Russia.

US officials did not say which members of the government had authorized the mission, who carried out the attack or whether the Ukrainian president, Volodmyr Zelenskywould have known.

The consent of country officials was shared within the US government last week. The US government was not aware of the fact, but after the alleged involvement was discovered, it reportedly reprimanded the Ukrainians. It is not known how Ukraine responded.

Shortly after the assassination, Ukraine denied involvement in the bombing. In addition, high-ranking authorities in the country reiterated their denials on several occasions when they were questioned.

Image shows Russian investigators at the site where the vehicle that Daria Dugina was in exploded, on August 21 this year.
Image shows Russian investigators at the site where the vehicle that Daria Dugina was in exploded, on August 21 this year. Photograph: Russia Investigative Committee/AFP

While Russia did not directly retaliate for the assassination, the United States is concerned that such attacks – while of high symbolic value – could provoke Moscow to carry out attacks against senior Ukrainian officials. US officials have been frustrated by Ukraine’s lack of transparency about its military and secret plans, especially on Russian soil.

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Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine’s security services have demonstrated the ability to reach Russia to carry out sabotage operations. Dugina’s assassination, however, would be one of the boldest operations to date – showing that Ukraine can get very close to prominent Russians.

Some US officials suspect that Dugina’s father, Alexander Dugin, a Russian ultranationalist and a leading proponent of an aggressive, imperialist Russia, was the real target of the operation. Authorities said the perpetrators believed he was in the vehicle with his daughter.

Ukraine’s secret plans

While the Pentagon and US spy agencies have shared secret battlefield intelligence with the Ukrainians, helping them focus on Russian command posts, supply lines and other key targets, the Ukrainians have not always told US officials what to do. that they plan to do.

The United States pressured Ukraine to share more about its war plans. Early in the war, US officials acknowledged that they often knew more about Russian war plans – thanks to their intense espionage efforts – than they did about Kiev’s intentions.

Since then, information cooperation between the two countries has increased. A few months ago, for example, Ukraine shared with the US and UK their plans for the military counteroffensive developed in September.

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US officials also do not have a complete picture of the Ukrainian government’s internal squabbles, which include the military, security services and Zelensky’s cabinet – a fact that suggests that some parts of the Ukrainian government may not be aware of involvement in Dugina’s assassination.

When asked about the information from US intelligence on Tuesday, 4, Mikhailo Podoliak, one of the most active advisers to the president of Ukraine, reiterated his denials of involvement in the assassination of Dugina. “Once again, I will stress that any assassination during the war in some country or another must carry some sort of practical meaning,” Podoliak told The New York Times. “It must fulfill some specific purpose, tactical or strategic. Someone like Dugina is not a tactical or strategic target for Ukraine,” she added.

“We have other targets on the territory of Ukraine,” Podoliak continued, “I mean collaborationists and Russian command representatives, who may be of value to members of our special services working on this program, but certainly not Dugina.”

While details of acts of sabotage in Russian-controlled territory are unknown, the Ukrainian government quietly acknowledges its involvement in killings of Russian officials in Ukraine and sabotage of Russian factories and weapons depots.

Alexander Dugin and daughter Daria
Alexander Dugin and daughter Daria

A senior Ukrainian military official said on condition of anonymity, Ukrainian forces carried out attacks and assassinations with the help of local fighters on accused Ukrainian collaborators and Russian officials in occupied Ukrainian territories. Among these is, for example, the chief appointed by Russia to take care of the occupied Kherson region, who was poisoned in August and had to go to Moscow for urgent treatment.

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Countries traditionally do not discuss the covert actions of other nations, for fear of having their own operations revealed, but some US officials believe it is crucial to curb what they see as dangerous adventurism, particularly political assassinations.

Involvement did not affect U.S.-Ukraine relationship

Still, US officials in recent days have struggled to insist that relations between the two governments remain strong. US concerns about Ukraine’s aggressive covert operations inside Russia have not led to any known changes in the provision of intelligence, military and diplomatic support to the Zelensky government or Ukraine’s security services.

On Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba that the Joe Biden government “will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to regain control of the territory by strengthening military and diplomatic assistance.”

State Department, National Security Council, Pentagon and CIA officials declined to comment on the intelligence assessment.

Russia launched an investigation shortly after Dugina’s murder and deemed it a terrorist act. According to Russia’s intelligence service, the FSB, Ukraine’s intelligence service was responsible.

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A day after the attack, the FSB said Ukrainian agents hired a Ukrainian woman, who entered Russia in July, rented an apartment where Dugina lived and fled the country shortly after the attack.

Ilia Ponomarev, a former member of the Russian Duma who voted against the annexation of Crimea, said a group of pro-Ukrainian and anti-Putin fighters operating in Russia known as the National Republican Army was responsible for the assassination. Officials in Washington have been skeptical of the Russian’s claims.

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