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Top Adviser to Ukrainian President Is Targeted in an Assassination Attempt

KYIV, Ukraine — A prime adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine was shot at on Wednesday whereas being pushed in his automobile exterior Kyiv, in what the authorities stated was an assassination try.

The adviser, Serhiy Shefir, was not injured within the assault, however the driver of the automobile was wounded and hospitalized, Irina Venediktova, Ukraine’s prosecutor basic, said in a statement that included an image of the driving force’s aspect of Mr. Shefir’s black Audi riddled with bullets.

“That is severe,” the deputy inside minister, Anton Gerashchenko, stated in a short interview. “It was an actual assassination try.”

The assault occurred whereas Mr. Zelensky was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, the place he had stated he deliberate to talk out in opposition to Russia’s army intervention in japanese Ukraine and to rally diplomatic backing for Kyiv.

Mr. Shefir, 57, is a longtime adviser to the Ukrainian president and is taken into account Mr. Zelensky’s closest confidant. Collectively along with his brother and Mr. Zelensky in 2003, they based Kvartal 95, a tv manufacturing firm that produced quite a few in style reveals and propelled Mr. Zelensky, a former comic, to nationwide fame. In 2019, Mr. Zelensky used his recognition to win the presidency.

Mr. Zelensky stated in a video message from New York that he thought-about the assault to be a message to him personally, however insisted that irrespective of who was behind it, he wouldn’t be deterred from efforts to modernize Ukraine’s financial system and sort out criminality.

Wearing a blue hoodie, trying instantly roused from sleep, Mr. Zelensky stated he would instantly return to Kyiv, the capital, after his speech, scheduled for Wednesday.

“Saying whats up to me by capturing from the woods on the automobile of my buddy is weak spot,” Mr. Zelensky stated.

The pictures appeared to have been fired about 10 a.m. by an individual or individuals who had been hidden within the woods by the highway, in response to investigators. Mr. Shefir’s automobile was not armored and he didn’t use any safety element, Mr. Gerashchenko stated.

The capturing occurred close to the village of Lisnyky, simply exterior Kyiv, on a freeway bordered by woodlands.

There have been no suspects and nobody had been arrested within the fast aftermath of the assault, in response to the authorities.

Ukrainian officers cautioned the general public to not speculate about who was behind the brazen morning assault, at the same time as photographs of the bullet-ridden automobile had been broadcast throughout the nation. There have been not less than 10 bullet holes within the automobile.

The motive force, whose title was not instantly launched, was shot 3 times and is hospitalized in essential situation. He’s presently present process surgical procedure, in response to the authorities.

Afterward Wednesday, Mr. Shefir appeared at a information convention in Kyiv to reward the work of the emergency responders in addition to his driver, who he stated “dealt with himself like a hero.”

“The assassination try was carried out in an effort to frightened the higher echelon of presidency,” Mr. Shefir stated. “However you should perceive that the president, Vladimir Aleksandrovich, is a really strong-willed particular person, who isn’t simply frightened,” he added, utilizing Mr. Zelensky’s first title and patronymic.

Since struggle broke out in 2014 between Ukraine and separatist forces backed by the Kremlin, there have been quite a few assassinations carried out on Ukrainian territory focusing on senior army and intelligence officers and politicians, in addition to journalists and dissidents fleeing enemies in Russia.

Whereas a few of the assaults have been attributed to felony rivalries and gangland violence, lots of them, in response to Ukrainian regulation enforcement officers, are the work of assassins related to Russia’s intelligence companies. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Mr. Zelensky’s chief of employees, linked the assault on Wednesday to the president’s efforts to restrict the affect of oligarchs on politics in Ukraine.

Mr. Podolyak known as the assault a “belligerent pushback” in opposition to Mr. Zelensky’s coverage to “scale back the normal affect of shadow oligarchs on social processes,” in response to Interfax, a information company.

“Certainly, we hyperlink this assault to the aggressive and even belligerent pushback on the energetic coverage of the top of state,” he stated.

“This coverage goals to palpably scale back the normal affect of shadow oligarchs on social processes and to destroy the political and monetary teams that overtly serve our international opponents,” Mr. Podolyak informed Interfax on Wednesday.

Mr. Shefir was a producer on the hit comedy present “Servant of the Individuals,” by which Mr. Zelensky performed a schoolteacher who was propelled to the presidency after a principled tirade in opposition to authorities corruption went viral on-line. After Mr. Zelensky received the precise presidency in 2019, he positioned a variety of former show-business associates in key management posts.

The 2 are additionally neighbors and share a health club and a pool. Every time Mr. Zelensky is away, Mr. Shefir walks Mr. Zelensky’s canine, he stated in an interview.

“My important objective, other than my regular duties, is for him to stay a human being,” Mr. Shefir said of Mr. Zelensky, shortly after his appointment as adviser in 2019.

Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting from Moscow.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/22/world/europe/ukraine-assassination-attempt.html | High Adviser to Ukrainian President Is Focused in an Assassination Try

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