Russian diplomats hatched a secret plan last year to help Julian Assange flee the United Kingdom, The Guardian reports. The plan—abandoned because it was deemed too risky—would have seen the WikiLeaks founder smuggled out of Ecuador’s London embassy in a diplomatic vehicle and transported to Russia to avoid the risk of extradition to the United States. Assange has been holed up in the embassy in London since 2012—he faces arrest from British police if he leaves, and fears extradition in the U.S. due to the criminal investigation into Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. The bold plan to extract Assange was reportedly scheduled for Christmas Eve in 2017. The involvement of Russian officials raises fresh questions about Assange’s relationship with Moscow—four sources told The Guardian that the Kremlin was willing to offer support for the plan.