Published On: Thu, Mar 7th, 2024

Chilling Russian missile attack ‘part of a concerted effort to kill Volodymyr Zelensky’ | World | News


’s latest apparent bid to assassinate Zelensky must be seen in the context of multiple previous efforts, a UK-based security expert has said.

But David Dalton also pointed out that had the attack resulted in the injury of death of his guest – PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis – the consequences could have been even more serious than if Russia had succeeded in killing the Ukrainian President himself.

The missile detonated just 150 metres from Mr Zelensky’s motorcade as he and Mr Mitsotakis were driving in the southern port city of Odesa.

Neither was injured, but Mr Mitsotakis’s spokesman later confirmed: ”We heard the sound of sirens and explosions that were very close to us.”

Mr Dalton, a Europe/Eurasia analyst at Dragonfly Intelligence, told Express.co.uk the missile strike had come “uncomfortably close” to the convoy.

He continued: “The use of a precision missile seemed to support the idea that it was an assassination attempt. But Ukraine has since said that the attack ‘is not connected with a specific visit’.

Nevertheless, Mr Dalton pointed out: “Russia has already made a concerted effort to assassinate Zelensky and his team at the start of the full-scale invasion and, we assume, would do so again if it had the chance.

“Early on in the current invasion, a key presidential advisor claimed that Zelensky had survived more than a dozen attempts on his life.”

The presence of Mr Mitsotakis, who is the leader of a NATO member state, was possibly an even more serious factor, Mr Dalton stressed.

He explained: “The death or serious injury of the Greek leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, would certainly have increased tensions between Europe and Russia – already at their highest since the end of the Cold War – and would probably have created momentum around measures on which Europe as a whole has hesitated hitherto.

“This would include on giving Ukraine permission to use long-range European missiles on targets inside Russia; lending Western-held Russian assets to Ukraine – as David Cameron suggested yesterday the UK might do; and it could even have eased the way for sending Western troops to protect certain borders in Ukraine, as France has suggested in recent days.”

Posting on X, formerly Twitter, today, Mr Mitsotakis said: “I was in Odesa yesterday with President Zelensky when a Russian ballistic missile hit the port during our visit to the facility.

He added: “I think we all have a message for the Kremlin: We shall not be intimidated. We will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

Mr Zelensky yesterday said at least three people had been killed and three injured in the missile strike.

He later posted, also on X: “During our conversation, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and I discussed ways to expand the security space in the Black Sea, as well as protect the frontlines and all of our cities, including Odesa. Ukraine requires more air-defense systems.

“We were also briefed on the operation of the grain corridor and the security situation in the Black Sea. It is critical to strengthen the security of the port infrastructure.”

He added: “We also spoke with the military command about the current situation in the Odesa region and on the southern frontline, as well as measures to counter the Russian fleet.

“I am grateful to Greece for assisting our state and society in protecting life.”



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