In the wake of an assassination attempt on one of his most senior aides, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky just defiantly vowed during his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to initiate a “strong response” against those responsible, as the Wall Street Journal reports.
The attack against Serhiy Shefir, a longtime friend and advisor to Zelensky took place near his home in Lisnyky, close to Kiev, and involved a group of gunmen opening fire on the car in which he was riding, according to Breitbart.
While Shefir himself emerged unscathed from the incident in which at least 10 bullets, reportedly of a “specialized” nature of foreign origin, hit his vehicle, the car’s driver was seriously injured and taken to the hospital.
Speaking for Zelensky after the event, press secretary Sergii Nykyforov pledged, “The perpetrator of the assassination attempt, as well as those involved and their accomplices, won’t escape punishment,” the WSJ added.
Shefir was taken to a secure location following the frightening events and declared that the assassination plot was designed to “intimidate” his friend the president, but that it would not succeed.
“One has to understand that our president is very strong-willed, he has a spine and cannot be intimidated,” Shefir stated.
According to the BBC, there is some thought that the attack may have been spurred by anti-corruption legislation championed by Zelensky, which takes aim at wealthy oligarchs who leverage significant power over the political and economic landscape in Ukraine.
Though some of the oligarchs suspected of possible involvement are closely tied with Russia, spokesman Dmitry Peskov of the Kremlin laughed off the mere notion that anyone from that country would be involved, calling such statements “the signs of an excessively excited emotional state.”
Zelensky, for his part, did not back down from the unavoidable confrontation he appeared to believe the assassination attempt signaled, saying, “I am quite calm about any intimidation, but it seems to be that this is a transition to another level of relations between certain groups and the authorities.”