August 15, 2022

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.


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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.

Would-be assassins have been “liquidated” while attempting to get to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government quarters.
Ukraine Presidency Press Office/AFP via Getty Images
Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelensky shared a video showing him in his office in Ukraine’s capital.
Ukraine Presidency Press Office/AFP via Getty Images
Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelensky has repeatedly vowed to stay in Kyiv during the Russian invasion.
Ukraine Presidency Press Office/EPA

“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.

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Despite the threats, Zelensky — a former comedian — has repeatedly vowed to stay in the capital, even sharing a video showing him in his office.

Vladimir Putin.
Zelensky remains Putin’s “main target,” an aide said.
Russian Presidential Press Service via AP
Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I’m not afraid of anyone,” Zelensky has said of the recent situation.
Ukraine Presidency Press Office/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelensky enjoying a drink with Ukrainian soldiers.
Ukraine Presidency Press Office/EPA
Ukraine map.
The latest on the Russian invasion of Ukraine as of March 9, 2022.

“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.