Assassination attempts on Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Attempts at killing Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in April 2022. Zelenskyy has survived several assassination attempts during the course of the invasion.
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According to Ukrainian government officials and news sources, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has survived a number of assassination and kidnapping attempts by Russian or pro-Russian agents during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[1][2]

Background

In order to quickly end the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia planned to have groups enter Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and destroy Ukraine's leadership.[3] Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak stated that "Russia's key intention is to remove the country's top leadership, create maximum panic, and try to establish its own puppet government".[4]

Attempts

According to Ukrainian government, in early February 2022, Russian president Vladimir Putin instructed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to eliminate Ukrainian leaders.[5] In early March, Ukraine intelligence said that Chechen commandos sent to assassinate Zelenskyy had been "eliminated", with help from FSB agents sympathetic to Ukraine.[6]

More than 400 Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group were reported to have been in Kyiv by late February 2022, with orders to assassinate Zelenskyy and destabilize the government enough for Russia to take control.[7]

Number of attempts

During the conflict there were conflicting accounts of the number of assassination attempts made against Zelenskyy. Presidential advisor Podoliyak referenced the issue while speaking to the Ukrainian Pravda news outlet, saying, "Our foreign partners are talking about two or three attempts. I believe that there were more than a dozen attempts".[8]

In addition, on Saturday, 26 February 2022, an assassination attempt by a group of Chechen mercenaries was prevented on the outskirts of Kyiv with the would be assassins killed.[5]

In early March 2022, the head of Ukraine's National Security Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said that Zelenskyy had survived three assassination attempts in one week. Danilov credited the aid of anti-war intelligence officers within Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) who shared information with Ukrainian forces about the planned attacks by two groups of assassins from Chechnya.[9]

Response

During an interview with CBS, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the Ukrainian government had prepared for the potential death of Zelenskyy in the invasion, but would not disclose additional details.[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ Teh, Cheryl. "Volodymyr Zelenskyy has survived 'more than a dozen' assassination attempts by Russian agents, says presidential aide". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 13 March 2022. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  2. ^ Wagner group contractors were involved in Zelensky assassination plot, top Ukrainian official says, by CNN, David McKenzie and Ghazi Balkiz
  3. ^ "Подоляк: єдина мета Росії – зайти до Києва та знищити керівництво України" [Podolyak: Russia's only goal is to enter Kyiv and destroy the leadership of Ukraine]. Слово і Діло (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 4 March 2022. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Подоляк: Одна з цілей Росії – прибрати вище керівництво" [Podolyak: One of the goals of Russia is to remove the top leadership]. Слово і Діло (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 9 March 2022. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  5. ^ a b "ЗСУ знищили кадирівців, що планували вбити Зеленського - розвідка" [The Armed Forces destroyed the Kadyrivites who were planning to kill Zelenskyi - intelligence]. Українська правда (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 9 March 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  6. ^ Ball, Tom (10 March 2022). "Spies accused of betraying Putin's Chechen units". The Times. Retrieved 13 March 2022. Chechen fighters loyal to the Kremlin are being betrayed by Russian spies who are leaking their whereabouts to Ukrainian forces, an aide to President Zelensky has claimed. Aleksei Arestovich said that the FSB was 'quietly passing on' information about the movements of Chechen units.
  7. ^ Rana, Manveen (28 February 2022). "Volodymyr Zelensky: Russian mercenaries ordered to kill Ukraine's president". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  8. ^ Brown, Lee (9 March 2022). "Zelensky has survived 'more than a dozen' assassination attempts, aide says". New York Post. Archived from the original on 16 March 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  9. ^ Kaonga, Gerrard (4 March 2022). "Volodymyr Zelensky survives three assassination attempts in one week". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 14 March 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  10. ^ Ghosh, Poulomi (7 March 2022). "'If Zelensky is assassinated': US says Ukraine has alternative plans". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 14 March 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
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