The American intelligence community believes that the Car bombing that killed Darya DuginThe daughter of prominent Russian politician Alexander Dugin was authorized by elements in the Ukrainian government, sources told CNN.
According to the sources, the US was not aware of the plan in advance and it is still unclear who exactly the US has credited with the assassination. It is also unclear whether the US intelligence community believes this President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky knew about or authorized the plot.
But the pursuit of intelligence, The New York Times first reported itFactors corroborate Russian officials’ conclusions that the car bombing was “premeditated.” Russia Ukrainian nationals were accused of being responsible for the attack, which Ukraine strongly denied after the blast.
Asked for comment, a Ukrainian defense intelligence official told CNN Wednesday evening that his agency had no new information about Dugina’s death after the latest report was published. After her death, the same official told CNN that Ukraine had nothing to do with it.
The National Security Council, the CIA and the State Department declined to comment.
US intelligence officials believe Dugina was driving her father’s car the night she was killed and that her father was the real target of the operation, a source said. Dugin is a Russian ultranationalist and philosopher who is a strong supporter of Russia’s war in Ukraine. A friend of Dugina also told Russian state-owned TASS after the explosion that the car she was driving belonged to her father.
Days after Dugina’s death, Russian authorities charged a Ukrainian woman with remotely detonating explosives planted in Dugina’s Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and then fleeing the Pskov region and crossing into Estonia.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security Council, immediately denied the allegation. “We have nothing to do with the murder of this woman – it is the work of the Russian special services,” he said Said in August. Zelensky adviser Mykhailo Podolyak also said at the time that the Russian accusations reflected the “fantasy world” in which the Russian government operates.
The intelligence surrounding Ukraine’s involvement, if accurate, would represent a bold extension of Ukraine’s covert operations to target a prominent political figure just outside of Moscow.
To date, Ukrainian attacks in Russia have largely been limited to attacks on fuel depots and military bases in Russia-Ukraine border cities such as Belgorod. But the U.S. doesn’t have good visibility into all of Ukraine’s planned attacks, sources told CNN.
A Ukrainian official told CNN that the U.S. intelligence community was not briefed on the findings during a meeting earlier this week between U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Zelenskyi’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak. It’s unclear whether President Joe Biden raised the issue recently in a phone call with Zelensky on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment.
Dugina, who was 29 when she was killed, was a public figure in her own right and appeared frequently as a commentator on Russian TV networks pushing anti-Western, nationalist narratives.
As is CNN previously reported, Dugina also ran an English- and Turkish-language website called United World International, which itself was part of a wider propaganda effort known as “Project Lakhta”. The State Department has accused Project Lakhta of deploying online “trolls” to interfere in US elections.
The US sanctioned both Dugin and Dugina after Russia invaded in February, accusing them of campaigning and acting to destabilize Ukraine.
This story was updated Wednesday with additional reporting.