Russian and Ukranian intelligence officials claim that two men arrested earlier this month were planning a series of terrorist attacks in Moscow, including one meant to target Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The two suspects were shown on Russian TV admitting that they were working with a wanted terrorist to carry out a bombing campaign before this weekend's presidential election.
According to the reports from the government owned Channel One, the two men were arrested after an explosion at an apartment in the Ukrainian city of Odessa killed a third accomplice and alerted police to their presence in the city. The men admitted under interrogation that they were sent to Odessa by Doku Umarov, the leader of a Chechen separatist group that is responsible for several terrorist attacks in Chechnya and Russia, including the bombing of Moscow subway stations in 2010. Officials also claim that a search of the apartment revealed more explosives, "combat mines," and detailed travel routes and security details for top Russian officials, including Putin. The men say there were given a deadline to attack Putin, possibly with a suicide bomb, before the Russian presidential elections on March 4. Putin, who spent six years as president before stepping down and becoming Prime Minister, is expected to easily be re-elected to his old job.