Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he is aware of the latest Russian plot to oust him from power by the end of the year.
Zelensky told The Sun in an interview published Monday evening that he had already survived at least “five, six” assassination attempts since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, the latest campaign to eliminate it codenamed Operation Maidan 3.
“That means changing the president,” Zelensky said. “Maybe it’s not by killing, I mean it changes – they will use whatever instruments they have.” The deadline set by the Kremlin is “by the end of the year,” the president added.
The code name appears to refer to Ukraine’s 2014 Maidan revolution, in which protesters overthrew pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych.
Russia has a history of assassination attempts against its opponents, and Zelensky has regularly alluded to attempts on his life since the start of the war.
As the leader of the war in Ukraine, he became the symbol of the country’s refusal to submit to Russia.
In an interview with CNN in July, Zelenskyy explained that he could not afford to dwell on the fact that his life was in constant danger.
“Of course, my bodyguards have to think about how to prevent this from happening, and that is their task. I don’t think about it,” Zelenskyy said.
But Ukrainian officials have acknowledged there was a plan to kill Zelensky. If the president were to be killed, he would be replaced by the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, in accordance with the country’s constitution.