Ukraine's Zelensky nearly assassinated three times this week - report

The Wagner group was behind two of the three attempts.

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeals to Russians to stage protests over Russian forces' seizure of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, during an address from Kyiv, Ukraine March 4, 2022 in this still image from video.  (photo credit: Courtesty of Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS )
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeals to Russians to stage protests over Russian forces' seizure of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, during an address from Kyiv, Ukraine March 4, 2022 in this still image from video.
(photo credit: Courtesty of Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS )

Ukrainian-Jewish President Volodymyr Zelensky was nearly assassinated three times this week alone, according to a Thursday report from The Times.

The report states that two different groups were sent to kill him. One is the Wagner group, which is supported by the Kremlin. The other is the Chechen special forces, belonging to the Kadyrovites paramilitary organization that is aiding Russia. 

Their assassination attempt was foiled when their unit was "eliminated," Oleksiy Danilov, head of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, said last Tuesday.  

The Times states that both groups were foiled by "anti-war elements within Russia’s Federal Security Service," with the Wagner unit shocked at how Ukraine anticipated their attacks and suffered heavy casualties as a result. It was "eerie" how the Ukrainian forces were well-briefed, the unit stated, according to a source close to the group cited by the Times.

The US had offered to evacuate the Ukrainian president but was declined, with Zelensky saying that he needed "ammunition, not a ride," multiple sources reported, affirming that his fight "is here."

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks alongside other Ukrainian officials in the governmental district of Kyiv, confirming that he is still in the capital, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 25, 2022 in this screengrab obtained from a handout video. (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks alongside other Ukrainian officials in the governmental district of Kyiv, confirming that he is still in the capital, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 25, 2022 in this screengrab obtained from a handout video. (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

The Wagner group was behind two of the three attempts, and there are more than 400 members of the group in Kyiv as of Thursday, who all have a "kill list" of people whose deaths would be detrimental to the Ukrainian government, the Times reported.

Not far from Kyiv, Zelensky had avoided an assassination attempt from Chechen assassins who were eliminated before even reaching him.

Tal Spungin contributed to this report.