Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has now survived three different assassination attempts, according to a new report in the Times of London.
Two of the assassination plots were foiled when Russians who are themselves against the war gave intelligence to Ukrainian officials regarding two separate mercenary groups that were planning to launch the attacks, the Times reports.
Zelensky assassination attempt thwarted by Russians who saved him, giving information
“I can say that we have received information from (people in Russia’s Federal Security Service), who do not want to take part in this bloody war,” Ukraine Secretary of National Security and Defense told local TV stations in Ukraine.
The murky Kremlin-backed Wagner Group was tasked with two separate assassination attempts, the Times says. This, Moscow believes, would shield it from any obvious involvement in the political killing. “They would be going in there with a very high-profile mission, something that the Russians would want to be deniable — a decapitation of a head of state is a huge mission,” a diplomatic source told interviewers from the Times.
“In terms of the impact on Russian sovereign policy, this would be perhaps their biggest mission so far. It would have a major impact on the war,” the source said. The newspaper reports it was told that there are over 400 Wagner Group members in Kyiv even now, after its members were able to infiltrate Ukraine with a “kill list” of 24 Ukrainian officials.
Zelensky dodged an assassination attempt just last Saturday when he was on the outskirts of Kyiv after a group of Chechen assassins were eliminated before they could get to him.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian leader issued a new video deploring the Friday attack on one of his top aides, whose car was sprayed with gunfire as he traveled between two villages in the countryside, according to Reuters. Serhiy Shpir was unharmed in the attempt and the authorities are scouring the area where it occurred.
The Ukraine parliament passed a law on Thursday calling for all Ukrainian oligarchs to add their names to a new registry, banning them from financing political parties or taking part in privatizations.
The Ukrainian state also now has the ability to designate who is and is not considered an oligarch, a development that opposition politicians fear may be a tool which concentrates too much power in the hands of the Ukrainian president. Zelensky’s political team has said that the assassination attempt of one of his staff may have been in retaliation for the passage of the new law.