A retired Russian security officer, who was once tasked with carrying President Vladimir Putin’s briefcase containing nuclear codes, was found in a “pool of blood” inside his home Monday, local media reports said.
The ex-colonel has been identified as Vadim Zimin. He is currently undergoing treatment in intensive care of a hospital after being discovered by his brother in the city of Krasnogorsk, which is located near Moscow.
Russian state media said Zimin was found “in a pool of blood” after allegedly sustaining a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, The Kyiv Post reported.
The 53-year-old was part of the Federal Security Service (FSB) — Russia’s main security agency. He has been photographed with Putin several times, while carrying the leader’s “Cheget,” which is Moscow’s version of the nuclear football, according to The Kyiv Post.
The Cheget is a satchel that functions as a mobile strategic defense hub with codes. These codes would allow Putin to transmit launch orders for a nuclear attack. It is not clear who is currently in charge of carrying the Cheget for Putin.
Zimin was detained in December on suspicions of taking bribes from a businessman in connection to a government contract, Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets reported [Google Translate showed]. He was then placed under house arrest during the ongoing criminal investigation.
The newspaper reported Zimin’s injuries hint at an alleged suicide attempt. However, the motive behind trying to end his life remains unknown.
Zimin was also reportedly in charge of carrying the Cheget for former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
The news of Zimin’s alleged suicide attempt came as some media outlets in the U.K. reported a Russian military colonel was recently killed in Ukraine after his helicopter was hit by Ukrainian fire. Russian Lieutenant-Colonel Sergey Gundorov, 51, was killed last week over Volnovakha in the Donbas region, according to several U.K. media reports.
However, International Business Times cannot independently confirm the news of Gundorov’s death, as there has been no official report on the same. A video allegedly showing Gundorov’s helicopter being shot down received 200,000 views on Twitter. It was shared by a page called Blue Sauron, which regularly posts coverage of the war in Ukraine.