Accusing fingers have been pointed over alleged assassination plot against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
A senior adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Markian Lubkivskyi, told CNN that Russian private military group, Wagner was involved in the assassination attempt.
“They wanted to assassinate the leadership of Ukraine: our President and Prime Minister,” he told CNN.
“That was the goal and a couple of them were sent to Ukraine without any success,” he said.
According to Lubkivskyi, the plot to assassinate Zelenskyy and the Prime Minister was confirmed by Ukraine’s intelligence service and special forces in charge of protecting Zelensky.
“All these documents and the necessary proof will be presented to the International Court,” he said, adding that he could not reveal more due to operational reasons.
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The war between Russia and Ukraine is already entering its second month, with many Ukrainian towns and cities destroyed and casualties now counted in thousands.
Earlier, the the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office signaled Thursday that it believes Russia is using the Wagner Group, a shadowy Kremlin-linked mercenary organization, to hunt down and kill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss announced that the Wagner Group numbered among dozens of individuals and businesses to be newly sanctioned, describing it as “the organisation of Russian mercenaries reportedly tasked with assassinating President Zelenskyy.”
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European security officials suggested in February that hundreds of Wagner Group fighters had been trickling into eastern Ukraine to lay the groundwork for the war, according to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, embattled President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called on people around the world to demonstrate to mark one month since the start of Russia’s attack.
“Come from your offices, your homes, your schools, and universities.
“Come in the name of peace, come with Ukrainian symbols to support Ukraine, to support freedom, life.
“Come to your squares and streets, make yourself visible and heard,” Zelensky said in a video message early Thursday.
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“Say that people matter, freedom matters, Ukraine matters,” he said.
He said that Russia started the war against freedom as it was.
He added that Moscow was trying to defeat the freedom of all people in Europe, and all people in the world.
“For that reason, I ask you to stand against the war starting from March 24, exactly one month after the Russian invasion.”
In a daily report posted on Facebook early Thursday, the Ukrainian generals said that fighting continued around the besieged city of Izyum.
They said that in the eastern Donetsk region, the vast majority of Ukrainian units were under fire.
The report also said that, in neighboring Luhansk, efforts focused on the cities of Rubizhne, with a population of 60,000, Severodonetsk with a population of 100,000, and Popasna with 20,000 inhabitants.
Combat operations also continued in the north of the country as Russian artillery fire was reported on the towns of Kalynivka, Horinka, Romanovka, and the north-eastern outskirts of Kyiv.
Ukrainian forces were reported to have stopped Russian troops near the Kyiv suburb of Brovary.
It added that Russian forces failed to break through Ukrainian defenses to reach the north-western outskirts of the capital Kyiv.