Russian leaders are speculating that the U.S. is behind the alleged attack on President Vladimir Putin’s life.
The Kremlin claims a drone attempted to assassinate Putin on Thursday, originally speculating it was an attack by Ukraine forces.
“We know that often it isn’t even Kyiv that determines the targets, but Washington,” Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of the president of the Russian Federation, said at a briefing, according to the Moscow Times.
He continued, “It’s very important that Washington understands that we know this and understands how dangerous such direct involvement in the conflict is.”
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN Thursday that Peskov is “lying.”
“There’s a word that comes to mind that I’m obviously, not appropriate to use on national TV,” Kirby said when asked for his reaction.
“Obviously it’s a ludicrous claim,” Kirby continued. “The United States had nothing to do with this. We don’t even know exactly what happened here… but I can assure you the United States had had no role in it whatsoever.… We neither encourage nor do we enable Ukraine to strike outside Ukraine’s borders.”
Unconfirmed videos have begun circulating online appearing to show a drone being shot down over the Kremlin, and smoke rising in Moscow.
No injuries or damage to Putin’s residence was reported. The Russian leader was seen in video and photos released Wednesday meeting with a regional governor outside Moscow.
The Kremlin previously called the incident a “terrorist action” and threatened retaliation against Ukraine in reports from state media outlet RIA.
The U.S. has not responded to the Russian government’s accusations, but leaders have previously stated that they are unfamiliar with the drone incident and cannot attest to the reports.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday he could not “validate” the reports, and that “we simply don’t know.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, Office of the President of Ukraine adviser, previously dismissed the drone incident as a false flag meant to justify retaliation.
“Russia is clearly preparing a large-scale terrorist attack. That’s why it first detains a large allegedly subversive group in Crimea. And then it demonstrates ‘drones over the Kremlin,'” Podolyak wrote on social media.
Ukrainian presidential spokesperson Serhii Nykyforov similarly denied Ukrainian involvement in the alleged drone attack.
“It’s too early to tell who is behind the purported drone attack and whether the attempted attack actually did happen. If Ukraine did do it, it would be viewed by Russia as massive escalation, allowing Putin to obliterate Kyiv, including Zelenskyy’s residence,” former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Rebekah Koffler told Fox News Digital.
She continued, “The way the article is written has signs of Russian disinformation. Versions of this article are all across Russian media, which indicates to me that the Kremlin has approved publishing it. If it is a Russian ‘active measure,’ the goal would be provocation, to provoke, laying the groundwork and the pretext for a ‘retaliation,’ which the article mentioned specifically.”