Minister: FSB claim of alleged assassin fleeing to Estonia is provocation
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) has dismissed Kremlin claims that the alleged assassin of the daughter of an ideologue with close ties to Vladimir Putin fled to Estonia as provocation.
Speaking to ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK), Reinsalu said: "We regard this as one instance of provocation in a very long line of provocations by the Russian Federation, and we have nothing more to say about it at the moment," noting that this was the official assessment of the ministry.
The claim is also a part of Kremlin attempts to pressurize Estonia over its support for Ukraine during the current conflict, he said.
"Why did Estonia experience the biggest cyber attacks since the Bronze Soldier night?" Reinsalu said, referring to last week's foiled DDoS attacks on both public and private sector institutions in Estonia, following the removal of a controversial Soviet-era tank monument from Narva, and its relocation to a museum.
"Why did the former president of Russia say two weeks ago that it was their failure to do so, that Estonia is still a free country? I think that all these events and the various actions can be placed in a wider context, with the purpose of expressing this to Estonia and several other countries whose support for Ukraine has been unequivocal pressure with various methods," the minister went on.
ICDS chief: May have been FSB 'false flag' op
Appearing on ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Monday, head of the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) Indrek Kannik said that the Russian Federal Security Service, the FSB, carried out as a "false flag" operation the actual planting of the car bomb which killed Darya Dugina, journalist daughter of political philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, a man thought by some to have helped shaped Putin's worldview, particularly in relation to foreign policy.
Kannik said: "It is possible that this was the FSB's own operation, since these people had become a threat. At the same time, it is convenient to blame it on the Ukrainians. Now we are seeing that Estonia can also be dragged in to this."
The incident, which took place on Saturday as Dugina was driving her father's car, reportedly a Toyota SUV, through the Moscow suburb of Bolshiye Vyazemy, could also have been related to organized crime, with no political aspect to it, Kannik went on.
"We can't definitively just rule out potential criminal activity here either. We also have the possibility that there was nothing political behind this matter," he said.
If the perpetrator was Natalja Vovk, as per FSB accusations, then this in itself represents a complete failure on the part of that organization, given it would mean she would have traveled from Mariupol, in Ukraine, in summer and been at large in Moscow, driving around with Ukrainian license plates.
Since the Kremlin has stated Vovk had links with the Ukrainian Azov battalion, but had nonetheless been left unhindered to kill a Russian citizen (ie. Dugina) and then flee the country to Estonia, this was also evidence of failures on the part of the FSB, Kannik added.
A more likely explanation was that the FSB planned the operation along "false flag" lines in order to then take the line that Ukraine is involved in terrorist activity, while Estonia turns a blind eye to such activity.
Kannik would not be drawn on whether last Saturday's car bomb was intended for Dugin, or its actual victim, Darya Dugina.
Western news reports have linked her death to opponents of the Ukraine War, though Ukranian government sources have denied any involvement in the bombing.
Dugina had been described as a hardline Kremlin supporter.
Russian security sources told Russian news agency Tass that Natalia Vovk, reportedly a Ukrainian citizen, may have used her daughter to plant the bomb, before fleeing to Estonia.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Interviewed by Anett Peel; AK, Ringvaade.