Russian President Vladimir Putin survived an assassination attempt launched not long after he invaded Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s top military intelligence official. Kyrylo Budanov told the Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda: “There was an attempt to assassinate Putin” in March. The newspaper also published an English version of the comments. Per Pravda’s translation, Budanov said: “There was an attempt to assassinate Putin… He was even attacked, it is said, by representatives of the Caucasus, not so long ago. This is non-public information. [It was an] Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really happened… It was about 2 months ago. “I repeat, this attempt was unsuccessful. There was no publicity about this event, but it took place.” Pravda said the comments were part of a longer interview, which it would publish soon. It was not possible to verify the claims. By locating the attempt to “representatives of the Caucasus”, Budanov appeared to be saying that Ukraine was not behind it. The Caucasus is a large geographical region. It comprises some Russian territories, including North Ossetia-Alania and Chechnya, as well as non-Russian states such as Georgia and Azerbaijan, which used to be in the Soviet Union. Anton Geraschenko, a senior Ukrainian government official, also shared Budanov’s comments on his Telegram profile. Around the time of the claimed assassination attempt, there were already signs that the advance of Russian troops in Ukraine was faltering badly, with reverberations in the Kremlin. Budanov has previously claimed that Putin’s health is in decline, and suggested that a Kremlin coup is under way that is “impossible to stop”. In that interview with Sky News, he said he expected a change of leadership by the end of the year. Suspect in Putin assassination plot wounded, wife killed The assassination claim is the latest in a long string of claims, of varying reliability, about Putin’s health and its impact on his leadership in Russia. Former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove said Putin would be out of power by 2023 and would be committed to a sanatorium.