Ukrainian defense ministry says more mercenaries are in the country to kill Zelensky

Ukrainian officials say Zelensky has survived several assassination attempts since the war began last month.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds a press conference on Russia's military operation in Ukraine, on February 25, 2022 in Kyiv.

March 21, 2022 7:17am

Updated: March 21, 2022 12:14pm

The defense ministry of Ukraine said on Sunday that another group of Russian Wagner Group mercenaries had arrived in Ukraine on a mission to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in addition to other top-ranking Ukrainian politicians.

In a Facebook post, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine wrote: "Another group of militants linked to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a Russian propagandist close to Putin and owner of the Liga (Wagner), began arriving in Ukraine today. The main task of criminals is to eliminate the top military and political leadership of Ukraine.

"Putin personally ordered another attack by one of the few proxies. All previous attempts have ended in the failure and elimination of terrorists." 

Roughly since the war began, Ukraine's Ministry of Defense has been saying that thousands of Russian mercenaries from private military company Liga — formerly called PMC Wagner — have made their way into Ukraine.

Yevgeniy Prigozhin, one of the oligarchs who made the Biden administration's sanction list, is suspected to be the financial backer of the Wagner Group. He has consistently denied the affiliation, despite a close relationship with the Kremlin.

"The Russian occupiers, having failed to achieve their goals during the full-scale aggression against Ukraine, continue to try to destabilize the Ukrainian government, demoralize society, disrupt the resistance movement, and slow down Ukraine's international cooperation ... We are ready to repel the aggressor both at the front and in the rear," wrote the ministry. "No terrorist attack will succeed."

During the first days of the war in February, the Times of London reported that several mercenaries were flown in from Africa on a mission to assassinate Zelensky. 

Ukrainian officials report that Zelensky has survived several assassination attempts in the past month, including one by Chechen fighters.