A retired Russian security officer who was once tasked with carrying the president Vladimir Putin‘s briefcase containing nuclear codes was found shot in his home on Monday, according to reports.
Kyiv Post reported that the retired colonel, Vadim Zimin, is currently on intensive care after being discovered by his brother in the town of Krasnogorsk, which is located near Moscow. The Ukrainian newspaper wrote that Russian state media said Zimin was found “in a pool of blood” after allegedly incurring a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Zimin, 53, is a retired colonel from the Federal Security Service (FSB) – Russia’s main security agency – who has been photographed with Putin while wearing the leader’s “Cheget“according to Kyiv Post.
Cheget is Russia’s version of nuclear football, the nickname for folders which always follows the US President. Like nuclear football, Cheget is a bag that acts as a mobile strategic defense hub with codes inside that would allow Putin to send launch orders for a nuclear attack.
The Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets wrote that Zimin was detained in December on suspicion of receiving bribes from a businessman on a deal involving a government contract. He was allegedly under house arrest during an ongoing criminal investigation at the time of the shooting episode. Zimin had allegedly denied any wrongdoing with respect to the criminal charges.
Moskovsky Komsomolets also noted that the nature of Zimin’s injuries led to the conclusion that he had tried to take his own life.
Kyiv Post and other businesses reported that it is believed that Zimin was also accused of carrying the Chegeten to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
News of Zimin’s condition appeared around the same time It was reported by British media a Russian military colonel was recently killed in Ukraine after his helicopter was hit by Ukrainian fire.
The mirror and The Daily Star both wrote on Monday that Russian Lieutenant Colonel Sergey Gundorov, 51, was killed last week over Volnovakha in the Donbas region.
Gundorov’s death is not independently verified by Newsweekbut a page on Russia’s VKontakte (VK) social media platform, which regularly notes the deaths of soldiers in the conflict in Ukraine, dedicated a post to Gundorov on June 18.
A video allegedly showing Gundorov’s helicopter being shot down has also been seen over 200,000 times on Twitter. It was shared by a site called Blue Sauron, which regularly broadcasts coverage of the war.
Newsweek contacted the Kremlin for a comment on Zimin.