Ukrainian presidential aide’s car was shot at in assassination attempt, officials say
KYIV – A salute of automatic fire hit a car carrying a senior official of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday, an incident which a senior official called an assassination attempt and Zelenskiy said it may have been ‘a message that was intended for him.
The aide, Serhiy Shefir, escaped unharmed, but police said his driver was injured after more than 10 bullets hit the car near the village of Lesnyky, just outside the capital Kiev.
A local television station said at least 19 bullet holes could be seen from the driver’s side of the car.
Police said in a statement they had opened criminal proceedings on suspicion of premeditated murder.
Zelenskiy, who came to power on a promise to confront the country’s oligarchs and fight corruption, is currently in the United States at the United Nations General Assembly.
He said he did not yet know who was responsible for the attack, which shocked the country’s political elite.
“I don’t know who was behind this yet,” Zelenskiy said. “Texting me by shooting my friend is weakness.”
Shefir is close to Zelenskiy and heads a group of advisers.
Zelenskiy came to power on a promise to confront the country’s oligarchs and fight corruption, and Mykhailo Podolyak, one of his advisers, said the assassination attempt could be the result of the campaign against them. oligarchs.
Zelenskiy said he would double planned reforms rather than back down.
“It does not affect the strength of our team, the path I have chosen with my team – to change, to clean up our economy, to fight crime and the big influential financial groups,” he said.
“It does not affect that. On the contrary, because the Ukrainian people gave me a mandate for changes.”
Podolyak, Zelenskiy’s adviser, pledged tougher measures against the oligarchs after the attack.