Ukrainian authorities had planned to detonate a bomb at a market in the city of Melitopol in Russia’s Zaporozhye Region, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement on Monday. It added that the suspects have been detained and confessed to the plot.
- According to the FSB, three Ukrainian nationals, including two with prior criminal convictions in Ukraine, were apprehended while driving to the site in order to plant an explosive. They were transported to Moscow and charged with terrorism and illegal weapons possession.
- The FSB released a video of two men with their faces blurred, who said they had been recruited by Ukrainian special services. One man claimed that Ukrainian officials promised to “get him off the hook” for having committed a robbery if he would agree to travel to Melitopol and carry out “an explosion in a public place” there.
The detainee added that he was given the location of a weapons cache, from which he recovered two handguns, a grenade and “explosives with detonators.”
- The second suspect stated he was told to make “a homemade explosive device.” A third detainee, a woman who appeared in the video wearing a medical mask, said that she was driving the men to “a place where they wanted to plant [the bomb].”
Zaporozhye Region, together with three other former Ukrainian territories, joined Russia after holding referendums in September.
- Sitting near the Sea of Azov, Melitopol had a population of nearly 149,000 before the conflict. It is a machinery and agricultural center and also has several chemical plants.