Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has reportedly been targeted for assassination three times since Russian troops invaded his country last week.
According to a report from Times of London, Zelenskyy sidestepped the attempts on his life after Russian individuals who oppose the war fed intelligence about the planned attacks to Ukrainian government officials.
"I can say that we have received information from [Russia’s Federal Security Service], who do not want to take part in this bloody war," Ukraine Secretary of National Security and Defense said on Ukrainian television, according to the Times.
The report states that the Wagner Group, a Russian backed paramilitary mercenary force, was behind two of the attempts which would presumably allow Russia to deny involvement if the group was successful in killing Zelenskyy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky makes a speech in Kyiv, Ukraine on February 28, 2022.
"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," a diplomatic source said in the report.
In a move supported by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the European Union in December moved to sanction the Russia-backed Wagner Group and its associates for serious human rights abuses, including torture and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings, and destabilizing activities in countries including Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic and Ukraine’s Donbas region.
Former U.S. intelligence officials speculated to Fox News Digital that these mercenaries more likely have been operating in Kyiv for months because Russian President Vladimir Putin required on-the-ground intelligence in the Ukrainian capital in advance of the planned invasion that began five days ago.
"Ukrainians, we know exactly what we are defending," Zelensky, who has reportedly remained in the capital of Kyiv despite intense fighting, said in a speech earlier this week. "We will definitely win. Glory to each of our soldiers. Glory to Ukraine."
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