Sergei Shefir, chief aide to the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, this Wednesday was unharmed in an attempted attack by unknown persons on the outskirts of Kiev. Not so his driver, who was shot three times and is admitted to an intensive care unit. The event occurred this morning in the town of Lesnikí, near the country’s capital. The attackers fired from the forest with automatic weapons at Shefir’s Audi, which received about twenty bullet wounds, several of them in the windshield.
The Ukrainian authorities do not rule out that Russia is behind the attack, although Moscow has been quick to deny it and regret that such conjectures are made in Kiev “without reliable evidence to support it.” Zelenski, who is currently in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly, has promised that “there will be a forceful answer»For what happened, although he admitted not having the slightest idea at the moment who the perpetrators may have been.
“They could have been both internal and external forces,” declared the Ukrainian president in a video posted on the website of his office. Members of his team point to Moscow as a possible origin of the group of assassins that carried out the attack. Zelenski assured that will immediately return to Ukraine, after his speech before the UN, to take charge of the investigations that allow to clarify the facts.
The Ukrainian press agency Unian cites testimonies from Shefir’s colleagues, pointing out that it used to be he who habitually got behind the wheel of his vehicle. They claim that he is in a “state of shock.” On the other hand, the life of its driver, according to the doctors, is not in danger even though his condition is serious. Forensic police specialists work on the ground with the intention of trying to determine the number of attackers and the weapons used.
David Arajamia, spokesman for the parliamentary group of the Servant of the People faction, the formation led by Zelenski and which is the majority in the Rada (Parliament), believes that the attack “constitutes a wake-up call for the president.” In his opinion, “smugglers, organized crime bosses or oligarchs may be behind the attack (…) Russian authorship cannot be excluded either.”
Key member of the Zelenski environment
In the presidential administration they underline the fact that an attempt was made to assassinate “a key member of Zelensky’s team.” The Ukrainian Justice has already opened a criminal case while the Police and the SBU, the country’s secret services, try to hunt down the participants in the shooting.
Ukraine, faced with Russia since 2014 over the annexation of Crimea and the Kremlin’s aid to pro-Russian insurgents in Donetsk and Lugansk, has announced that it will do everything possible to foil Moscow’s project to supply gas to Germany through the pipeline about to entering service Nord Stream-2. Kiev is also trying to strengthen ties with NATO and to obtain military aid from the United States.
On September 10, Zelenski said that, given the acute confrontation between his country and Russia, “it is not ruled out that a large-scale war will be unleashed”, words that in the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, he called “exaggerated and apocalyptic.”
Since last Monday and until October 1, US forces and those of other countries of the Alliance participate in joint military exercises with the Ukrainian Army Rapid Trident, in the west of the country. They take place in the Yavóriv training camp, near Lviv, and involve about 6,000 troops.