(Reuters) – Russian and Ukrainian security services have foiled a plot to assassinate Vladimir Putin after next week’s presidential election, Ukraine’s SBU counter-intelligence agency said on Monday.

Russian pro-government Channel One television said Ukrainian special services in the Black Sea port of Odessa had held two men linked to a group seeking an Islamist state in Russia’s North Caucasus.

“I can officially confirm that they were preparing an (assassination) attempt on Putin,” said Marina Ostapenko, a spokeswoman for the SBU.

Ostapenko said two men were under arrest. One was seized in Odessa after being wounded in an explosion at an apartment in the city on January 4 which also killed another alleged plotter.

The second man, who was on the international wanted list, was arrested a month later after initially escaping, she said.

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