Man who confessed to Putin assassination plot jailed for 10 years

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Tuesday handed down a 10-year sentence to a man who confessed to plotting to assassinate President Vladimir Putin by blowing up his motorcade, the prosecutor-general's office said.

Prosecutors had accused Ilya Pyanzin of drawing up the plot as a member of an armed group created on the orders of Chechnya's top Islamist rebel Doku Umarov.

At a closed hearing, Moscow city court sentenced Pyanzin to 10 years in a penal colony with a harsh regime, the prosecutor-general's office said on its website.

Pyanzin pleaded guilty to banditry, plotting an attempt on the life on a state official and illegally preparing and storing explosives, the statement said.

Pyanzin said he joined an armed gang in Ukraine in 2011 that plotted to blow up a car filled with explosives along the route of then-premier Putin's motorcade in Moscow.

The Ukrainian authorities seized Pyanzin and another plotter in January 2012 after a third gang member died in a fire that apparently broke out as the plotters were building a homemade explosive device.

Russia aired televised confessions by Pyanzin and his fellow alleged plotter shortly before the March 2012 presidential election, prompting critics to suggest it was a Kremlin stunt to drum up support for Mr Putin.

Pyanzin cut a strange figure in photographs taken when he was detained, as his face was daubed with a bright green liquid disinfectant that is usually used on children's cuts and bruises.

Pyanzin, a Kazakh national, was extradited to Russia in August 2012 and the case was investigated by the FSB security service.

The other alleged plotter, Adam Osmayev, is standing trial in the Ukraine.