Top Adviser to Ukrainian President Is Targeted in an Assassination Attempt

KYIV, Ukraine — A high adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine was shot at on Wednesday whereas being pushed in his automotive outdoors Kyiv, in what the authorities stated was an assassination try.

The adviser, Serhiy Shefir, was not injured in the assault, however the driver of the automotive was wounded and hospitalized, Irina Venediktova, Ukraine’s prosecutor basic, stated in an announcement that included an image of the motive force’s facet of Mr. Shefir’s black Audi riddled with bullets.

“That is critical,” the deputy inside minister, Anton Gerashchenko, stated in a quick interview. “It was an actual assassination try.”

The assault occurred whereas Mr. Zelensky was in New York for the United Nations Common Meeting assembly, the place he had stated he deliberate to communicate out towards Russia’s army intervention in jap Ukraine and to rally diplomatic backing for Kyiv.

Mr. Shefir, 57, is a longtime adviser to the Ukrainian president and is taken into account Mr. Zelensky’s closest confidant. Collectively along with his brother and Mr. Zelensky in 2003, they based Kvartal 95, a tv manufacturing firm that produced quite a few widespread exhibits and propelled Mr. Zelensky, a former comic, to nationwide fame. In 2019, Mr. Zelensky used his recognition to win the presidency.

The pictures appeared to have been fired about 10 a.m. by an individual or individuals who have been hidden in the woods by the highway, in accordance to investigators. Mr. Shefir’s automotive was not armored and he didn’t use any safety element, Mr. Gerashchenko stated.

The taking pictures occurred close to the village of Lisnyky, simply outdoors Kyiv, the capital, on a freeway bordered woodlands.

There have been no suspects and nobody had been arrested in the fast aftermath of the assault, in accordance to the authorities.

Ukrainian officers cautioned the general public not to speculate about who was behind the brazen morning assault, at the same time as photos of the bullet-ridden automotive have been broadcast throughout the nation. There have been at the least 10 bullet holes in the car.

The driving force, whose title was not instantly launched, was shot 3 times and is hospitalized in important situation. He’s at the moment present process surgical procedure, in accordance to the authorities.

Since warfare broke out in 2014 between Ukraine and separatist forces backed by the Kremlin, there have been quite a few assassinations carried out on Ukrainian territory focusing on senior army and intelligence officers and politicians, in addition to journalists and dissidents fleeing enemies in Russia.

Whereas among the assaults have been attributed to legal rivalries and gangland violence, lots of them, in accordance to Ukrainian legislation enforcement officers, are the work of assassins related to Russia’s intelligence companies. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Mr. Zelensky’s chief of employees, linked the assault on Wednesday to the president’s efforts to restrict the affect of oligarchs on politics in Ukraine.

Mr. Podolyak referred to as the assault a “belligerent pushback” towards Mr. Zelensky’s coverage to “cut back the standard affect of shadow oligarchs on social processes,” in accordance to Interfax, a information company.

“Certainly, we hyperlink this assault to the aggressive and even belligerent pushback on the energetic coverage of the pinnacle of state,” he stated.

“This coverage goals to palpably cut back the standard affect of shadow oligarchs on social processes and to destroy the political and monetary teams that overtly serve our international opponents,” Mr. Podolyak informed Interfax on Wednesday.

Mr. Shefir was a producer on the hit comedy present “Servant of the Folks,” in which Mr. Zelensky performed a schoolteacher who was propelled to the presidency after a principled tirade towards authorities corruption went viral on-line. After Mr. Zelensky received the precise presidency in 2019, he positioned quite a lot of former show-business associates in key management posts.

The 2 are additionally neighbors and share a fitness center and a pool. Every time Mr. Zelensky is away, Mr. Shefir walks Mr. Zelensky’s canine, he stated in an interview.

“My predominant objective, other than my regular duties, is for him to stay a human being,” Mr. Shefir stated of Mr. Zelensky, shortly after his appointment as adviser in 2019.

Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting from Moscow.

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