US intelligence believes parts of the Ukrainian government gave the go-ahead for a car bomb that killed the daughter of a staunch Putin ally in August, according to a report Wednesday.
Kyiv has unequivocally denied any involvement in the blast that killed Darya Dugina, 29, in front of her father, Putin loyalist and Russian ultranationalist Aleksandr Dugin, both after the blast and in response to the report by the New York Times.
But multiple sources, speaking to the outlet on condition of anonymity, said that the US intelligence community believes parts of the Ukrainian government were complicit in the attack. The sources said Washington admonished Kyiv for the assassination.
The sources did not say what parts of the government in Kyiv are thought to have been involved, who is believed to have carried out the bombing, nor whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had signed off on the attack.
The sources also did not tell the Times who in the US government reportedly admonished the Ukrainians, and what Kyiv’s response was, if any.
At the time of the attack, Kyiv denied any involvement.
“We are not a criminal state, unlike Russia, and definitely not a terrorist state,” Zelensky advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said at the time.
On Tuesday, he doubled down to The Times.
“Again, I’ll underline that any murder during wartime in some country or another must carry with it some kind of practical significance,” Podolyak said. “It should fulfill some specific purpose, tactical or strategic. Someone like Dugina is not a tactical or a strategic target for Ukraine.”
“We have other targets on the territory of Ukraine,” Podolyak continued, “I mean collaborationists and representatives of the Russian command, who might have value for members of our special services working in this program, but certainly not Dugina.”
But it also remains unclear whether Dugina was the intended target, rather than her father.
Dugin’s far-right, pan-slavic ideas are said to have been among Putin’s inspirations for the invasion of Ukraine, and Dugina was reportedly driving her father’s Toyota Land Cruiser when it exploded.
Ukraine’s intelligence service has admitted to the use of car bombs in the past.
Oleksiy Kovalev, a former member of Zelensky’s political party who switched sides to work with the occupying Russians in his home province of Kherson, narrowly survived an attempt on his life when his car exploded in May.
“I can confirm that a certain action was taken,” Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukrainian military intelligence, said in a televised interview at the time. “The car was definitely blown up.”
Kovalev was found dead in his Kherson home in August, with a gunshot wound to his head.