Shots fired at car carrying Ukrainian president’s aide

Shots have been fired at a car carrying Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s principal aide, in what a senior official called an assassination attempt.

More than 10 bullets hit the car during Wednesday’s incident near the village of Lesnyky, about five kilometres (three miles) outside the capital Kyiv, a police statement said.

The vehicle’s driver was wounded in the incident.

The police statement said a criminal case on suspicion of premeditated murder had been opened.

A senior legislator representing Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People party said the aide, Serhiy Shefir, was not hurt. Shefir, 57, is one of the officials closest to the president, leading a group of advisers.

“I briefly spoke to him, everything is fine, he is alive and well,” Davyd Arakhamia was cited by Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

Zelenskyy, who came to power on a promise to take on the country’s oligarchs and fight corruption, is currently in the United States attending the UN General Assembly.

His office said Zelenskyy had been informed and would comment shortly.

Zelenskyy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said the motivation for the shooting may be the president’s attempts to take on the oligarchs.

“We, of course, associate this attack with an aggressive and even militant campaign against the active policy of the head of state,” Interfax Ukraine quoted Podolyak as saying.

Podolyak told Reuters the “open, deliberate and extremely violent assault with automatic weapons cannot be qualified any differently than as an attempted killing of a key team member”.

He said Zelenskyy would be undeterred by the incident.

“We emphasise that the president’s policy aimed at fundamental transformation of the state will remain unchanged,” Podolyak said.

This week, the Ukrainian parliament is due to debate a presidential law directed at reducing the influence of oligarchs.

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