Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has survived more than a dozen assassination attempts in the first two weeks of the war — and still remains Russia’s “main target,” according to
one of his key advisers.
“We have a very powerful network of intelligence and counterintelligence, they track it all,” presidential adviser Mikhail Podolyak told the outlet Ukrainian Pravda.
Thwarted attempts by infiltrators have included would-be assassins who have been “liquidated” while attempting to get to Zelensky’s government quarters, he said.
“Our foreign partners are talking about two or three attempts. I believe that there were more than a dozen such attempts,” Podolyak said, referring to an earlier claim involving the lower figure nearly a week ago.
Podolyak said the “risks have not disappeared” for his nation’s 44-year-old president, who defiantly revealed his location in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, on Monday.
The adviser backed Zelensky’s claim early in the invasion that the president was the No. 1 target for his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, with his wife and children second.
“Western intelligence is right to say that the main target for Putin was Mr. Zelensky in terms of attacking the government quarter and trying to kill the country’s key manager,” said Podolyak, a member of Ukraine’s delegation who has previously met Kremlin officials for doomed peace talks.
The Times of London has said the shadowy, Kremlin-backed Wagner Group and Chechen special forces were behind the first three thwarted assassination plots against Zelensky.
Despite the threats, Zelensky — a former comedian — has repeatedly vowed to stay in the capital, even sharing a video showing him in his office.
“On Bankova Street,” he said Monday, referring to where the presidential offices are located, and showing Gorodetsky House, which sits across the street from his offices.
“Not hiding, and I’m not afraid of anyone,” he said.