Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were both allegedly involved in car accidents over the past 24 hours.
Zelensky’s accident, which the Ukrainian government confirmed, was reportedly a minor collision with another vehicle that resulted in no serious incidents, while a much less well-sourced Russian report described the Putin incident as an assassination attempt.
No doubt editorial cartoons are on drafting boards around the world depicting the two leaders crashing into each other, but there is no obvious connection between them. Zelensky was returning to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv early Thursday morning after visiting Izyum, a city recently liberated from Russian invaders during a major Ukrainian counteroffensive, when a car reportedly ran into his motorcade.
“A car collided with the president’s car and its escort vehicles in Kyiv. The president was examined by a doctor, no serious damage was detected,” Zelensky spokesman Serhii Nykyforov said on Thursday morning.
According to Nykyforov, Zelensky’s personal medics rendered emergency assistance to the driver of the other vehicle, who was then taken to a hospital by ambulance. Zelensky went on to record his routine daily address without mentioning the incident at all.
Ukrainian law enforcement officials are reportedly investigating the crash. As of Thursday morning, they had not released any information about the driver of the vehicle that struck Zelensky’s motorcade, or any further details about the incident.
“All circumstances of the accident will be found out by law enforcement officers,” Nykyforov promised.
The less probably incident involving Putin allegedly occurred when the Russian leader was en route to his official residence in Moscow when his convoy was hit by an attack right out of an action film. The alleged incident was described in a post on a privately-owned, anti-Kremlin Telegram channel called SVR General and transcribed by the U.K. Mirror:
“On the way to the residence, a few kilometers away, the first escort car was blocked by an ambulance, [and] the second escort car drove around without stopping [due to the] sudden obstacle, and during the detour of the obstacle.
In Putin’s car “a loud bang sounded from the left front wheel followed by heavy smoke”.
Putin’s car “despite the problems with control” made its way out of the attack scene to reach the safety of the residence. “Subsequently, the body of a man was found driving [the] ambulance, which blocked the first car from the motorcade,” said SVR General.
According to SVR General, this remarkable incident – the exact date and time of which were not specified – has not been reported in the media because Russian security agencies have classified the details. No other sources have reported the incident and the Russian government has not commented on the alleged event, leaving doubtful that it occurred.
The Telegram channel further claimed that Putin’s bodyguards are under scrutiny for possibly collaborating with the attackers, and at least three of the bodyguards who were traveling in the motorcade have “disappeared.”
While it did not specify a date, the rumor is further undermined by the fact that Putin is not in Moscow, or Russia at all, currently – he is in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, where he met with Chinese dictator Xi Jinping on Thursday, apparently unscathed by any accident.