A Russian colonel, who has been in charge of carrying the briefcase that contains the codes for its nuclear arsenal on behalf of President Vladimir Putin, has been shot at his home.
Vadim Zimin was found on the floor of the kitchen in his Moscow flat by his brother have suffered several gunshot wounds. The Kremlin man is now in intensive care.
Zimin had suffered a fall from favour in Moscow recently, having been accused of bribery and being placed under house arrest. He had left the security service and was instead working for the customs service.
While in the Federal Security Service Zimin had carried the briefcase that is thought to have the codes to set off Russia’s nuclear weapons. The briefcase, called ‘Cheget’ in Russian, always accompanies the Russian president and is under supervision 24 hours a day with three people usually responsible for protecting it.
Zimin had had this role first under Boris Yeltsin, to whom he was an aid, and when he was a colonel under Putin. He is reputedly a secretive character – it is thought there is only one known photograph of him.
It has been reported that Zimin was found with multiple gunshot wounds by his brother, who was said to be in the bathroom at the time of the attack.
Zimin was under house arrest having been accused of bribery in his customs service role – something he denied.
A pistol has been found by local police near to Zimin’s flat but, as yet, nobody has been arrested for the crime.