Zelenskyy 'survived three assassination attempts' since Russian invasion

4 March 2022, 11:05

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flanked by bodyguards at a press conference
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flanked by bodyguards at a press conference. Picture: Getty

By Stephen Rigley

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has survived three assassination attempts since last week's Russian invasion.

Mercenaries from the Kremlin-backed Wagner group and Chechen special forces were both sent on missions to kill the Ukrainian president.

However brave anti-war members of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) - formerly the KGB - foiled the attacks by alerting Ukrainian officials, The Time reported.

One of the groups that reportedly tried to kill Zelensky, 44, was the Wagner Group - which has 400 members located in Kyiv as members infiltrated Ukraine with a 24-name "kill list."

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The Wagner Group which is run by Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin are said to be tracking Zelesnky, the Prime Minister, the entire cabinet, mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir - both boxing champions who have become iconic figures on the front lines of the capital.

A source said that between 2,000 and 4,000 mercenaries had actually arrived in Ukraine in January, but with different missions.They claim to know where they are at all times through tracking their mobile phones.

If the Zelenskyy attempt had been successful, Russian President Vladimir Putin would have been able to deny any involvement.

A source told The Times: "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.

"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 plan was sabotaged after they reached the upper echelons of the Ukrainian government on Saturday morning, prompting Kyiv to declare a 36-hour 'curfew, ordering everyone indoors so that soldiers could sweep the streets for Russian saboteurs.

A Chechen hit squad also attempted to kill Zelensky on March 1 after the Secretary of National Security and Defense said they encounter two death squads, Fox News reported.

The Chechen are a part of Russia's National Guard and are known for using brutal tactics.

News of their assassination plans has not seemed to faze Zelensky, who admitted he was "target number one" during an address to the nation, telling them Russian special forces were hunting him.