According to the New York Times, the assessment was shared last week that “parts of the Ukrainian government” approved bombings.
According to a report in the New York Times, intelligence agencies in the United States believe sections of the Ukrainian government authorized the August car bombing near Moscow that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist.
The assessment of the alleged Ukrainian complicity was shared within the US government last week, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.
US officials speaking to the intelligence community did not say which elements of the Ukrainian government authorized the mission, who carried out the attack, or whether President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed it. Those briefed on the Ukrainian action and the US response spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified information and matters of sensitive diplomacy, the report said.
Dugina, a 29-year-old commentator for a nationalist Russian TV channel, was killed in August when a bomb exploded in her car in an attack Russia accused of Ukrainian “special services.”
The Ukrainian government denied involvement at the time, and when asked about US intelligence’s assessment, Zelenskyy’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak repeated that denial.
“I want to reiterate that every wartime murder in one country or another must have some kind of practical meaning,” Podolyak told the New York Times. “It should serve a specific purpose, tactically or strategically. Someone like Dugina is not a tactical or strategic target for Ukraine.”
US officials also told the newspaper that they lack a full picture of competing power centers in Ukraine’s government, including the military, security services and Zelenskyy’s office. This could explain why some parts of the Ukrainian government may not have been aware of the plot, she added.
The US was not involved in the attack, had no prior knowledge of it, and “reprimanded” Ukrainian officials afterwards, the New York Times said, adding that the US would have opposed the assassination had it known of the plan.
Dugina’s father, Alexander Dugin, is a prominent ultra-nationalist and a staunch supporter of the Russian war in Ukraine, and some believe he was the intended target.
Russian media said Dugin swapped cars with his daughter shortly before the blast, who tore the Toyota Land Cruiser apart while driving through the outskirts of Moscow after attending a cultural festival. Dugina was also a prominent supporter of the Ukraine invasion, known in Russia as “military special operations.”
Russia has not taken specific retaliatory action over the killing, but the US fears such attacks could provoke Moscow to carry out its own attacks on senior Ukrainian officials, the New York Times said.
The Russian secret service FSB said that a Ukrainian woman who entered Russia in July and rented an apartment where Dugina lived was behind the bombing. According to the agency, she fled Russia after the attack.