Russian authorities have arrested two out of three warlord hit-men involved in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Vladimir Putin after presidential elections next week, according to government television.
The third man was killed in an explosion last month that set off an investigation that apparently led to the arrests of the other two men.
Putin, who is expected to win by large margin, has campaigned against Muslim rebels in a region of Chechnya.
The assassination cell was based in Odessa, Ukraine. It was working for a Chechen gangster and planned to carry out the attack in Moscow.
The team reportedly arrived in Odessa from the United Arab Emirates, via Turkey with orders from warlord Doko Umarov, who is wanted for previous suicide attacks in Moscow.
Russia state television reported that one of the would-be murderers said, “They told us that first you come to Odessa and learn how to make bombs. And then later, in Moscow, you will stage attacks against commercial objects, with the subsequent assassination attempt against Putin.”
Explosives they intended to use to blow up Putin’s vehicle reportedly were found in Moscow.
The assassination team had studied a video of Putin getting in his car in order to learn about security arrangements.