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Live Update: Russia Invades Ukraine

Markian Lubkivskyi, an adviser to the Ukrainian Defense Minister spoke to CNN recently.
Markian Lubkivskyi, an adviser to the Ukrainian Defense Minister spoke to CNN recently. (CNN)

A senior adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister told CNN that the notorious Russian private military group Wagner was involved in an alleged assassination plot against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. .

“They want to assassinate the leader of Ukraine: our President and Prime Minister. That was the target and a few of them were sent to Ukraine without success,” said Markian Lubkivskyi, an adviser to the Ukrainian Defense Minister.

Lubkivskyi said the plot was confirmed by the Ukrainian intelligence service and the special forces in charge of protecting Zelensky.

“All these documents and the necessary evidence will be presented to the International Court of Justice,” he said, adding that he could not disclose further for operational reasons.

CNN was unable to independently confirm the claims.

The Wagner group became prominent for the first time during Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014. Since then, independent research and CNN investigates discovered that the private military contractor was active in Syria and many countries in Africa. They have been accused by US officials and human rights watchdogs of persistent human rights abuses.

The group is said to be connected with – and sponsored by – Yevgeny Prigozhin, a oligarch so close to the Kremlin that he has been called Putin’s “chef”.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any contact with the group. Prigozhin denies any involvement with Wagner.

On Thursday, the UK became the latest country to sanction Wagner.

Lubkivskyi said that Ukrainian intelligence had tracked the group inside and outside Ukraine and that several Wagner agents were killed inside the country, identified by their unique ID cards.

Zelensky has repeatedly pledged to stay in Ukraine to maneuver the country’s defense during the war, now is the second month.

“Military morale is high because our President is in Kyiv, and our Prime Minister and parliament are here. This is very important to support the people on the ground, to support the Ukrainian army and this is a very good signal to the international community,” said Lubkivsyi.

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