Putin has tried to assassinate me six times says Ukraines president Zelensky

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has said he survived at least five or six assassination attempts since Russia widened its invasion of his country last year.

Mr Zelensky claimed Ukraine’s intelligence services have thwarted repeated bids to kill him since February 24, 2022.

He told The Sun: “The first [assassination attempt] is very interesting – when it is the first time – and after that it is just like Covid.

“First of all people don’t know what to do with it and it’s looking very scary.

“And then after that, it is just intelligence, just sharing with you detail that one more group came to Ukraine to [attempt] this.”

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Mr Zelensky also revealed Moscow is plotting to overthrow him before the end of the year in a mission dubbed Maidan 3, in a reference to the Euromaidan revolution in 2014 which led Russia to illegally annex Crimea.

He told The Times Ukraine risks igniting a Third World War, adding: “I really think Russia will push until the United States and China together will tell them very, very seriously to go out of [our] territory.”

News of the assassination attempts come as US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday (November 20).

Mr Austin made the trip in a high-profile push to keep money and weapons flowing to Ukraine even as US and international resources are stretched by the new global risks raised by the Israel-Hamas conflict.

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While in Kyiv, Mr Austin announced the Pentagon would send an extra £80million ($100m) in weapons to Ukraine from existing US stockpiles, including artillery and munitions for air defence systems.

The package also includes another High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

Mr Austin said Ukraine’s effort to defeat Russian forces matters to the rest of the world and Washington’s support would continue for the long haul.

Mr Zelensky said Mr Austin’s visit was a very important signal for Ukraine, adding: “We count on your support.”

The US has already provided more than $44bn to Ukraine with allies sending an additional $35bn in weapons packages ranging from millions of bullets to air defence systems, advanced European and US battle tanks as well as pledges for F-16 fighter jets.

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But Ukraine needs more and after almost 20 months of shipping arms to Ukraine, cracks are beginning to show.

Some European countries such as Poland have scaled back support, noting their need to maintain adequate fighting ability to defend themselves.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have pushed back against suggestions they are in a stalemate with Russia after a long-awaited counteroffensive over the summer did not radically change the battle lines on the ground.

In a visit to Washington last week, Andriy Yermak, head of the Mr Zelensky’s office, provided no details but confirmed Ukrainian forces had finally pushed through to the east bank of the Dnieper River, which has essentially served as the immovable front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces for months.

As winter sets in it will become more difficult for either side to make large gains due to ground conditions, which could work against Ukraine if US lawmakers see there is time to wait before more funds are needed.

Ukraine and the US expect this winter Russia will target Ukraine’s infrastructure again, making air defences critical.

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