Ukraine thwarts alleged coup attempt, security service says

By Mariya Knight and Lex Harvey, CNN

CNN  — 

Ukraine has foiled an alleged plot to overthrow the government that “would have played into Russia’s hands,” security officials in the war-torn country said Monday.

In a Telegram post, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) claimed the alleged coup organizers planned to trigger a riot in Kyiv on June 30 as a distraction to seize control of the Ukrainian parliament and remove the military and political leadership from power.

It is unclear if those accused have any connection with Russia, which has waged a devastating full-scale invasion against its southwestern neighbor for nearly two and a half years.

Four suspects have been identified, with two held in custody, the SBU said. They face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. The SBU said it seized weapons and ammunition, as well as cellphones, computers and other records “with evidence of criminal action.”

According to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office, the alleged coup leader rented a hall with a capacity of 2,000 people and recruited military personnel and armed guards from private companies to “carry out the seizure” of parliament. It is unclear if prosecutors are seeking any more suspects.

“To implement the criminal plan, the main organizer involved several accomplices—representatives of the community organizations from Kyiv, Dnipro, and other regions,” the SBU said.

The alleged scheme in Kyiv comes as Russia has made slow but steady battlefield gains in recent months, exploiting Ukraine’s diminishing manpower and reliance on the West for weapons – and uncertainty over the future of that military aid.

Russian forces killed seven people, including three children, in a missile strike on the southern town of Vilniansk Saturday, according to Ukrainian officials, prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky to appeal for more long-range weapons.

“I am grateful to all partners who are helping. And the decisions we need must be accelerated. Any delay in decisions in this war means losing human lives,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

Concerns have grown over the future of US military support for Ukraine with the potential for another Donald Trump presidency on the horizon.

During last week’s presidential debate, Trump questioned whether the United States should continue to fund Ukraine’s fight against Russia.

Trump’s comments on the war in Ukraine were “worrying,” Ukrainian politician Oleksiy Goncharenko told CNN.

CNN’s Maria Kostenko and Alex Stambaugh contributed to this report.

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