Ukraine foiled an attempt to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky after arresting a woman who acted as an informant to Russian forces, multiple media outlets reported, citing a Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) announcement made Monday.
The woman in question is Ukrainian and lives in Mykolaiv, a vital Ukrainian port on the Black Sea.
The suspect was reportedly arrested over a week ago, but her identity has not yet been confirmed, ABC News reported. However, she may be facing up to 12 years in prison.
How did Russia plan to assassinate Zelensky?
According to media reports citing the SBU, the suspected informant was caught gathering intelligence about Zelensky's planned trip to the Mykolaiv Oblast and giving it to Russia. This included Zelensky's full itinerary as well as the locations of other defense infrastructure positions.
This would be delivered to Russia, which would carry out a massive and targeted airstrike while Zelensky was in the area, the Daily Express reported, citing the SBU.
Russia's attempts to assassinate Zelensky
Over the course of the Ukraine-Russia War, which began with Russia's invasion in February 2022, Moscow has reportedly attempted to carry out numerous assassinations against Zelensky.
In one notable instance, in the first week of March 2022, just over a week after Russia's invasion began, Zelensky barely avoided assassination on three separate occasions, The Times reported.
Ukraine's president is also aware of the danger he is in as the war continues, and Ukraine's constitution does have a mechanism in place for who would succeed him should something happen, with power going to the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's legislature.
However, as a source explained to Politico, not all Ukrainians may be so supportive of such a backup plan as chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk has a trust rating of only 40% in opinion polls.
So, under the circumstances that Zelensky is assassinated, the Ukrainian government would likely be headed by Stefanchuk as a figurehead, the head of the president’s office Andrii Yermak, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
Zelensky has also voiced his concerns with not only Russian forces but also alleged traitors within Ukraine itself. On Monday, he mentioned the ongoing "struggle against traitors in Ukraine" in a tweet.