Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said that statements made to the media by anonymous Pentagon officials amount to threats against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s life.
“There are some ‘anonymous officials’ from the Pentagon who have actually enunciated threats to deliver a ‘decapitating strike’ on the Kremlin, which is in fact an assassination threat against the Russian president,” Lavrov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Lavrov appeared to be referring to a report from Newsweek that was published in September that cited anonymous US military sources who said the US was considering a “decapitation strike to kill Putin in the heart of the Kremlin” in response to the Russian leader’s warning that he could use nuclear weapons to defend Russia’s “territorial integrity.”
It’s not clear from the context if the unnamed sources meant the assassination plot was being considered as a potential response to Russia using nuclear weapons or if it could happen before that. Either way, US military officials discussing such a plan is extremely provocative, even if they’re speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Lavrov’s comments came after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the only way the war in Ukraine would end is if Russia “breaks” and someone “takes Putin out.” The Russian diplomat didn’t mention Graham’s remarks but said Western powers want to destroy Russia.
“It is no secret to anyone that the strategic goal of the United States and its NATO allies is to defeat Russia on the battlefield as a mechanism for significantly weakening or even destroying our country,” Lavrov said.