In order to quickly end the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was planned that Russian groups would have entered Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and destroyed Ukraine's leadership. Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podoliyak stated that "Russia's key intention is to remove the country's top leadership, create maximum panic and try to establish its own puppet government".
In early February 2022, the president of Russia, Vladmir Putin, had instructed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to eliminate Ukrainian leaders. More than 400 Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, were reported to have been in Kyiv by late February 2022, with orders to assassinate Zelenskyy and destabilize the government enough for Russia to take control.
During the conflict there were conflicting accounts of the number of assassination attempts made against Zelenskyy. Presidential advisor Podoliyak referenced the issue while speaking to the Ukrainian Pravda news outlet, saying, "Our foreign partners are talking about two or three attempts. I believe that there were more than a dozen attempts."
In early March 2022, the head of Ukraine's National Security Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said that Zelenskyy had survived three assassination attempts in one week. Danilov credited the aid of anti-war intelligence officers within Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) who shared information with Ukrainian forces about the planned attacks by two groups of assassins from Chechnya.
During an interview with CBS, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the Ukrainian government had prepared for the potential death of Zelenskyy in the invasion, but would not disclose additional details.
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