Comic-turned-hero Volodymyr Zelensky has survived at least three precision assassination attempts by elite hit squads since Russia’s week old war began, according to Ukrainian officials who say his survival was all thanks to tip-offs from Russian spies.
Both the the Kremlin-funded Wagner group mercenaries and Chechen Republic leader Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov’s kill teams have allegedly tried to kill the Ukrainian president, who is hiding out in various bunkers deep below the capital Kyiv, according to the Washington Post.
The Wagner mercenaries—run by Yevgeny Prigozhin A.K.A. “Putin’s chef” —reportedly have a kill list of 24 names, including Zelensky, but were waylaid by the stalled military convoy outside of Kyiv that made it difficult for Russian special forces to secure an escape route, according to the Times of London.
Ukrainian national security chief Oleksiy Danilov told a Ukrainian television network that double agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service or FSB warned them of the attempts.
“I can say that we have received information from the FSB, who 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.”
Still, as President Putin’s brutal battle rages on, Zelensky’s stoic resistance has lofted him to cult status, undoubtedly angering Putin whose inferiority complex seems to be tipping towards psychosis. Zelensky is now even pleading to Putin to meet face-to-face— which may seem like a death wish—but which is unlikely to happen.
“I don’t bite,” Zelensky said in a statement to Putin. “What are you afraid of?”
Early Friday morning, as Europe’s largest nuclear power plant smouldered under a Russian attack that turned into occupation, Zelensky made an emotional plea in a video statement accusing Russia of edging ever closer to nuclear war. “If there is an explosion, that’s the end for everyone. The end for Europe. The evacuation of Europe,” he said as world leaders reacted with shock and dismay.“Only urgent action by Europe can stop the Russian troops. Do not allow the death of Europe from a catastrophe at a nuclear power station.”
“No country other than Russia has ever fired on nuclear power units. This is the first time in our history. In the history of mankind. The terrorist state now resorted to nuclear terror,” he said. “The Russian tanks knew that they were firing with a direct fire at the station.” The Russian military instead claimed that it was Ukrainian forces guarding the plant who fired first, provoking return fire.