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US said to believe Ukraine behind assassination of Putin aide’s daughter

NYT report does not specify which parts of Kyiv government approved car bombing that killed Darya Dugina, says Washington did not know of attack in advance

Philosopher Alexander Dugin speaks during the final farewell ceremony for his daughter Daria Dugina in Moscow, Russia, August 23, 2022. (AP/Dmitry Serebryakov)
Philosopher Alexander Dugin speaks during the final farewell ceremony for his daughter Daria Dugina in Moscow, Russia, August 23, 2022. (AP/Dmitry Serebryakov)

United States intelligence agencies believe that some elements in the Ukrainian government approved plans to carry out the August car bombing in which Darya Dugina, a pro-Russia journalist and daughter of nationalist Alexander Dugin, was assassinated.

American officials were not aware of the plans to carry out the attack, nor did they provide intelligence or take part in the attack in any other way, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The US would not have supported the attack had it known about it in advance, and reprimanded Ukrainian officials following the assassination, the outlet said, quoting unnamed officials.

Dugina was killed when  an explosive planted in her SUV was detonated while she was driving outside of Moscow. She was driving her father’s car, who was believed to have been the original target of the attack, according to some American and Russian officials.

Dugin is a strong supporter of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is sanctioned by Western countries. Dugina had expressed similar beliefs as a commentator on Russian television and was sanctioned by the US in March for her work as chief editor of United World International, a website that the US described as a disinformation source.

Russian officials blamed Ukraine immediately after the attack and named two Ukrainian suspects it said were involved in her assassination.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak denied to the Times that his government was behind the assassination, claiming that “someone like Dugina is not a tactical or a strategic target for Ukraine” and that the country has targets on its own territory.

Investigators work on the site of explosion of a car driven by Daria Dugina outside Moscow, August 21, 2022. (Investigative Committee of Russia via AP)

American officials declined to say which branches of the Ukrainian government had authorized the attack, including whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did so, the outlet said.

Officials also did not disclose who in the American government had reprimanded Ukraine, nor whom in Ukraine they rebuked.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February, and the American government has provided Ukraine with military and intelligence aid since. After losing territory, Ukraine launched a successful counteroffensive in September. In response, Russia declared its annexation of four eastern Ukrainian regions in a move largely rejected by Western countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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