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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on May 3 that Russia’s accusation that Ukraine tried to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin by trying to strike the Kremlin should be taken “with a very large shaker of salt.”
In a conversation with The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, Blinken said he has “seen the reports,” but “can’t in any way validate them” as “we simply don’t know.”
Blinken went on to say, “I would take anything coming out of the Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt.
“So, let’s see, we’ll see what the facts are. And it’s really hard to comment or speculate on this without really knowing what the facts are.
“When it comes to Ukraine, which is under daily assault—and not just its incredibly courageous military forces, but its citizens.
“Its men, women, and children—being assaulted on a daily basis by this Russian aggression, being bombed out of their homes, their apartments, and their streets, children killed, families torn apart.
“Well, we leave it to Ukraine to decide how it’s going to defend itself, and how it’s going to try to get back the territory that’s been seized from it illegally by Russia over the past 14 months and going back to 2014.”
A video posted on the Telegram channel of a local Moscow news outlet showed what appeared to be a drone intercepted over the Kremlin thereby causing an explosion above the building.
The video’s authenticity has yet to be confirmed. Russia claimed this was a “terrorist” act by Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rebutted Moscow’s accusation.
“We don’t attack Putin or Moscow,” he said at a press conference. “We fight on our territory. We’re defending our villages and cities.”
Ukraine presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak claimed Russia’s allegation of Ukraine launching a drone strike over the Kremlin was an attempt “to justify massive strikes on Ukrainian cities, on the civilian population, on infrastructure facilities.”
“Ukraine has nothing to do with drone attacks on the Kremlin,” said Podolyak.
When asked by Ignatius whether the United States would not criticize Ukraine were it to strike Russian territory, Blinken demurred.
“Again, these are decisions for Ukraine to make about how it’s going to defend itself, how it’s going to get its territory back, how it’s going to restore its territorial integrity and its sovereignty,” he said.