Ukraine over the weekend foiled an assassination plot targeting President Volodymyr Zelensky after Russian spies tipped off Ukrainian forces, a defense official said according to The Washington Post.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said in a televised news conference that officials were tipped off by members of Russia’s Federal Security Service, the country’s version of the CIA, that a unit of Kadyrovites, elite Chechen special forces, were on their way to kill Zelensky.
After the tip, Ukrainian forces killed the Chechen unit on the outskirts of Kyiv, according to Danilov.
“We are well aware of the special operation that was to take place directly by the Kadyrovites to eliminate our president. And I can say that we have received information from the FSB, who today do not want to take part in this bloody war,” Danilov said. “And thanks to this, the Kadyrov elite group was destroyed, which came here to eliminate our president.”
Plot was ordered by Putin:
A Ukrainian newspaper reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally instructed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to carry out the assassination.
“The task of the Chechens was defined as the cleansing of Kyiv, the physical liquidation and preventive work with Ukrainian leaders,” the outlet reported.
Danilov thanked the Russian spies that tipped off Ukraine. The country said over the weekend that it defeated an elite Chechen unit and killed a top general.
Danilov said that one of the Chechen units was “destroyed” while “another group is now, so to speak, under fire.”
Zelensky takes on new role:
Zelensky, a former comedian and actor, has become a symbol of Western resistance against Russian aggression and a top target for Russian forces.
“According to the information we have, the enemy has marked me as target No. 1, my family as target No. 2,” he said in a speech last week. “They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state.”
Zelensky told CNN on Tuesday that he has not seen his family in days. He also took issue with his newfound image, arguing that he is not “iconic” but Ukraine is.
“Ukraine is the heart of Europe, and now I think Europe sees Ukraine is something special for this world,” he said from a bunker. “That’s why [the] world can’t lose this something special.”