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Vladimir Putin’s car reportedly been “attacked” in what is a possible assassination attempt, unconfirmed reports suggest.
A “loud bang” was heard from the Russian leader's official limousine as heavy smoke came from the vicinity of its left front wheel, according to local reports.
The car drove to safety with Putin unharmed but there have been multiple arrests from his security service – while some of Putin’s bodyguards have reportedly vanished – amid claims that secret information about the 69-year-old ruler’s movements was compromised, says General SVR Telegram channel.
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The Kremlin has yet to confirm or deny the reports.
According to the anti-Kremlin channel, Putin was travelling back to his official residence on an unspecified date in a decoy or “backup” motorcade amid deep security fears.
This comprised five armoured cars, with Putin in the third, according to the claim.
“On the way to the residence, a few kilometres away, the first escort car was blocked by an ambulance, [and] the second escort car drove around without stopping [due to the] sudden obstacle, and during the detour of the obstacle.
In Putin’s car “a loud bang sounded from the left front wheel followed by heavy smoke”.
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Putin’s car “despite the problems with control” made its way out of the attack scene to reach the safety of the residence.
“Subsequently, the body of a man was found driving [the] ambulance, which blocked the first car from the motorcade,” said SVR General.
The channel – which boasts an inside track to the Kremlin yet provides no hard evidence for its allegations – said details of the supposed attack are “classified”.
“The head of the president's bodyguard [service] and several other people have been suspended and are in custody,” claimed the channel, without naming any of the suspects.
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“A narrow circle of people knew about the movement of the president in this cortege, and all of them were from the presidential security service.
“After the incident, three of them disappeared. These were exactly the people who were in the first car of the motorcade.
“Their fate is currently unknown.
“The car on which they were traveling was found empty a few kilometres from the incident.”
A number of Putin’s close allies have died in unexplained accidents over recent months, stoking rumours that there are moves against the Russian leader from within the Kremlin.
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