According to reports, a senior Kremlin official who was in charge of transporting the Russian president’s nuclear briefcase was shot at his residence outside of Moscow.
According to reports from Russian media, 53-year-old Vadim Zimin is currently struggling for his life in intensive care.
The incident occurred after the covert colonel joined the customs service after leaving the security services. He was facing bribery charges and was under house arrest at the time.
Although he is not the sole person in charge of carrying the briefcase thought to contain the codes to Russia’s nuclear arsenal that always accompanies the Russian leader, Zimin was a retired colonel in the Federal Security Service.
The exact nature of Zimin’s role in the administration is still unknown, and there is only one known photograph of him. Zimin first played this role while serving as an assistant to former Russian president Boris Yeltsin. He later advanced through the ranks to become a colonel under Yeltsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin.
While his wife, a nurse, was attending to soldiers wounded in Ukraine, Zimin was reportedly discovered in the kitchen of his apartment outside of Moscow with multiple gunshot wounds.
Instead, his brother, who was apparently in the toilet when the shooting occurred on Monday, June 20, found the colonel’s body lying in a pool of blood with a head wound.
Zimin was under criminal investigation for allegedly accepting bribes when he joined the customs agency in a senior position, according to Moskovsky Komsomolets, at the time of the incident.
At the time of the incident, Zimin was under house arrest and had refuted all accusations of guilt.
Authorities then found an Izh 79-9TM pistol at the crime scene laying nearby.
The launch codes for the Kremlin’s nuclear arsenal are thought to be in the covert briefcase he was in charge of transporting, known as the “Cheget” in Russian. The bag has a unique keycode and is always kept under close guard by up to three people who have been designated as its guardians.
During public events and official engagements, Putin is renowned for enjoying “taunting” the West by keeping the briefcase visible at all times. He also always has one of his three officers accompany him when carrying the Cheget.
This was clearly demonstrated in April when the Russian president carried the suitcase with him when he visited the funeral of ultra-nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky in Moscow.
Another of Putin’s top colonels was also murdered yesterday after a Ukrainian missile struck their helicopter.
According to reports, 51-year-old Lieutenant-Colonel Sergey Gundorov is the 55th officer of that level to have died this year as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Flying close to Volnovakha in the Donbas, Gundorov’s military helicopter was hit by a mobile surface-to-air missile. The Mi-35 exploded in a field after coming down in a ball of flames, cartwheeling over a section of forest.