“The murder of journalist Darya Dugina has been solved, it was prepared by Ukrainian special services, by a Ukrainian citizen,” TASS reported, citing Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), which named a woman as the perpetrator. and said she had fled to Estonia after the attack.
“We have nothing to do with the murder of this lady – it’s the work of Russian special services,” Oleksii Danylov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security Council, said in an interview with Ukrainian television on Monday.
“I emphasize once again that our special services have nothing to do with this,” he said.
Dugina, editor-in-chief of a Russian disinformation site, died after a bomb exploded in a car she was driving in suburban Moscow on Saturday night.
The FSB said the attacker was a Ukrainian woman who arrived in Russia on July 23 with her young daughter, TASS reported. The couple attended a festival near Moscow on Saturday where Dugina was the guest of honor.
“The criminals used a Mini Cooper car to monitor the journalist,” TASS reported, citing the FSB, adding that the woman had rented an apartment in Moscow in the same building where Dugina lived.
After remotely detonating explosives placed in Dugina’s Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, the FSB said the woman and her daughter traveled through the Pskov region to Estonia, a journey of around 12 hours.
CNN cannot independently verify the FSB claims cited by the TASS report.
Estonian police and border guards said on Monday they only shared information about cross-border movements “in cases determined by law” and not because of Russian media accusations.
The agency’s media representative, Ragne Keisk, also told CNN in an email that the Border Force had “not received any formal information or request from Russian authorities on this matter.”
Estonia’s foreign ministry said it could not comment and directed inquiries to the country’s justice ministry and border guards.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a key adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said on Monday that the FSB accusation reflected the “fictitious world” in which Russian propaganda thrives.
“Ru-propaganda lives in a fictional world: [Ukrainian] A woman and her 12-year-old child have been “assigned” responsibility for the explosion of propagandist Dugina’s car. Surprisingly, they didn’t find the ‘Estonian visa’ there,” he said on Twitter.
Ukraine’s defense intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov also on Monday dismissed Russia’s claims, calling them “false”.
“It is a fake that Ukraine is involved in this. It is a fake that the National Guard of Ukraine is involved in these events. The National Guard performs its legal tasks on the territory of Ukraine,” he said. Yusov said in a statement.
Yusov then redirected the blame for the outburst to Russia, saying, “It looks more like settling issues in Russia. Dugin and his daughter are fringe characters and not a point of interest for Ukraine.”
Dugina’s father, Alexander Dugin, is a prominent Russian nationalist credited with being the architect or “spiritual guide” of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
At a memorial service on Tuesday, Dugin said her daughter “died for our victory, our Russian victory, for the sake of the orthodoxy of our country, of our state.”
“She wasn’t scared, and the last thing she said, when we talked at the Tradition Festival, she was like, ‘Dad, I feel like a warrior, I feel like a hero I want to be like this, I don’t want any other fate. I want to be with my people, with my country,” Dugin continued.
Both father and daughter have been sanctioned by the US and UK for acting to destabilize Ukraine.
The UK, in a July filing by the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, called Dugina a “frequent and high-level contributor of misinformation regarding Ukraine and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on various online platforms”.
Putin sent his condolences to Dugina’s family on Monday, calling his death a “despicable and cruel crime”.
In a statement posted on the Kremlin’s Telegram channel, Putin said: “Journalist, scientist, philosopher, war correspondent, she honestly served the people, the motherland, she proved by her deeds what it means to be a patriot of the Russia”.
CNN’s Oleksandra Ochman, Teele Rebane and Victoria Butenko contributed to this report.