22 Sep 2021 20:06

Zelensky believes political-financial groups behind assassination attempt on his aide

KYIV. Sept 22 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes the assassination attempt on his aide Serhiy Shefir was a response by various political-financial groups to the presidential team's course and activity to reduce their influence.

"No such steps were undertaken with regard to people close to the president even in the very hard times after 2014. That is, this shows the reaction to real changes in the state, which we [Zelensky's team] want to accomplish. And even if we haven't yet managed to do everything, the direction that we have chosen is the right one. This shows that what used to be earlier controlled by various groups is slipping away from their hands now. Therefore, I believe this is one of the possible theories of what, unfortunately, happened," Zelensky said in a commentary for the Dom/Dim state television channel while in New York City on Wednesday.

At the same time, Zelensky said he was "not going to accuse them [political-financial groups]."

"Let's wait for an investigation," he said.

Law enforcement agencies will hunt for the people who actually fired the shots at Shefir, Zelensky said. "I can't say for sure they'll find them. I think they'll be doing all they can to find them," he said.

Zelensky said he sees the assassination attempt on Shefir as pressure actually being placed on him. "This situation is important to me, and not even because this is a friend of mine, although this is, indeed, a very warm and close friend of mine, but because, in principle, such attempts are made in our time in order to influence. It's impossible to influence me," he said.

Zelensky warned before that "the presidential team's response to the assassination attempt on Shefir will be hard."

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the head of the presidential office, has assumed that the attack on Shefir's car had to do with efforts to oppose Zelensky's active policy of reducing the influence of oligarchs in public affairs.

At the same time, Podolyak said that "it would be wrong to reduce everything to oligarchs," because, in his view, more risks are associated "with decisions made by the National Security and Defense Council, which has also applied sanctions to oligarchs and their organizations, criminals, and smugglers."

A car carrying Shefir was fired upon near the village of Lisnyky in the Kyiv region on Wednesday morning. Shefir himself was not hurt, but his driver was wounded.

Ukrainian National Police Chief Ihor Klymenko said the investigation was pursuing three main lines, namely, the victim's official state duties, an attempt to put pressure on the country's top leadership, and an attempt to destabilize the political situation in the country. Among others, the involvement of foreign special services is also under scrutiny, he said.