BREAKING — While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was out of the country for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, one of his top aides was shot at while riding in a vehicle on a forested road outside of Kyiv.
The aide, Serhiy Shefir, 57, survived the attack, but his driver was wounded and taken to the hospital. In a news conference, Shefir praised his driver’s bravery during the shooting, as the man continued to drive for some distance after being shot three times.
“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.”
According to Mykhailo Podolyak, another aide to Zelenskyy, the assassination attempt may have been motivated by the Ukrainian president’s 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 who is an oligarch, and would reduce these individuals’ influence over the country’s politics and policies.
Police are still 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.”
After hearing about 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 made 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.