BREAKING — While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was out of the country for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, one of his top aides was the victim of an assassination attempt on a forested road outside of Kyiv.
The aide, Serhiy Shefir, 57, survived the attack, which left his driver wounded. The driver was taken to the hospital after being shot three times.
In a news conference, Shefir praised his driver’s bravery during the shooting, as the man continued to drive for some distance despite his injuries.
“I think he was badly wounded. He was in great pain,” said Shefir. “This is a heroic act. At first, in shock, he tried to stop, but I think if we had stopped then we would not be talking to you now. I said, ‘drive,’ and we drove off.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, another aide to Zelenskyy, claims that the assassination attempt may have been motivated by the Ukrainian president’s recent promise to crack down on oligarchs.
“This open, deliberate and extremely violent assault with automatic weapons cannot be qualified any differently than as an attempted killing of a key team member,” Podolyak said.
Ukraine‘s parliament is expected to debate a new law which would define an oligarch, and would reduce the influence that oligarch’s have over the country’s politics and policies.
Authorities are still in the process of investigating the assassination attempt, and the motivations behind it.
The Washington Post reports: “National Police Chief Ihor Klymenko said police were pursuing three main lines of investigation — that Shefir was attacked because of his state duties, that it was an attempt to put pressure on the country’s top leadership or it was an effort to destabilize the political situation in the country.”
Upon hearing of the attack, President Zelenskyy announced that he would be returning to Kyiv after he addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 22nd. He also released a strong statement about the attack to the press.
“Frankly speaking, I don’t know who is behind this, for now, what kind of forces are maybe involved in this, internal or external. But I don’t consider them forces, because it is weakness to send me a message with shots from the forest into my friend’s car,” Zelensky said.