Ukraine's President Zelensky: I'm Russia's number one target

"According to our information, the enemy marked me as the number one target," said Zelensky. "My family is the number two goal."

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky makes a statement in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 25, 2022. (photo credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky makes a statement in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 25, 2022.
(photo credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is the number one target of the Russian invasion force, he said in an address in the early hours of Friday. 

"According to our information, the enemy marked me as the number one target," said Zelensky. "My family is the number two goal. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state."
Later on Friday, a Ukrainian presidential advisor told Reuters that the Russian forces wanted to take Kyiv and kill Zelensky.
Russia's alleged plans for Kyiv included seizing the state's leadership and forcing them to sign a peace agreement on the Kremlin's terms, the Ukrainska Pravda reported on Friday, citing intelligence sources. 

Read more on the Ukraine-Russia War:

Zelensky made the statement about his perilous position in response to what he said was misinformation that he had left Kyiv. 

"I'm staying in the capital, I'm staying with my people," said Zelensky. "My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine."
 A person walks his dog in front of a damaged residential building, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 25, 2022. (credit: UMIT BEKTAS/REUTERS) A person walks his dog in front of a damaged residential building, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 25, 2022. (credit: UMIT BEKTAS/REUTERS)
NBC News reported on Monday that the US and Ukrainian administrations have discussed plans for the evacuation of Zelensky to Lviv. A spokesperson for the president denied that report.

Last Friday, before the invasion, Foreign Policy magazine reported that US intelligence services had obtained information that there was a list of Ukrainian politicians, activists, and Russian and Belarusian dissidents that Russia would target if they invaded Ukraine.

The Biden administration was reportedly surprised about how the formalized lists were of those who could challenge Russian rule. These prominent individuals would be assassinated or captured, with the magazine reporting that the US was sharing this information to help alleviate the threat.

"Past Russian operations have included targeted killings, kidnappings/forced disappearances, detentions, and the use of torture, [and] would likely target those who oppose Russian actions, including Russian and Belarusian dissidents in exile in Ukraine, journalists and anti-corruption activists, and vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons,” an intelligence official reportedly told Foreign Policy

On Monday, Reuters reported that the Kremlin had said that the allegation of a "capture or kill list" "was an absolute lie."