May 24, 2022

Report: Ukraine develops succession plans amid threats on Zelensky’s life

It is no secret that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been operating under a constant threat of assassination at least since Russia formally invaded his country, and according to Fox News, officials there are working to have a plan of succession in place should the unthinkable happen.

During a Sunday appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation, Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed the fact that Zelensky’s colleagues are fully aware of the dangers their leader now faces and have made preparations for any eventuality.

“The Ukrainians have plans in place that I’m not going to talk about or get into any details on to make sure that there is what we would call ‘continuity of government’ one way or another. And let me leave it at that,” said Blinken.

As the New York Times noted, the constitution of Ukraine provides that if the president is unable to serve for any reason, the speaker of parliament takes the reins of government, and at present, that individual is Ruslan Stefanchuck, who has recently been seen in photographs alongside Zelensky and has participated in meetings with European leaders.

If something were to happen to both Zelensky and Stefanchuck, however, the line of succession is not as clear, and it is possible that the Ukrainian parliament would need to take additional measures to solidify any transfer of authority.

Given existing threats against Zelensky and others, American officials have recommended that senior Ukrainian leaders not stay in the same place for extended periods and urged them to seek locations outside of the capital of Kyiv in which to conduct governmental business.

As Fox News further noted, the U.S., together with its Western allies, believe it wise for Ukrainian leaders to set up a governmental hub away from Kyiv, and though a presidential retreat located in the Carpathian Mountains has reportedly been discussed as a possibility, the true security of such a location remains uncertain.

Uncomfortable as they may be, succession planning discussions among the leadership in Ukraine are critical, given the fact that Zelensky has reportedly already survived no fewer than three assassination attempts, according to the Washington Examiner.

With a band of Kremlin-linked mercenaries as well as teams of Chechen special forces determined to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s diabolical wishes when it comes to Zelensky, there is no room for error when it comes to ensuring the stability and continuity of government if Ukraine’s honorable fight for freedom is to stand any chance of survival.

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