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Ukraine says forces 'eliminated' assassins targeting President Zelensky

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Ukraine says forces 'eliminated' assassins targeting President Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) arrives to watch Ukrainian troops take part in a military drill outside the city of Rivne, northern Ukraine, on February 16. Photo courtesy of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry | License Photo

March 1 (UPI) -- Ukrainian forces foiled a plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky amid Russia's invasion of the country, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council chief Oleksiy Danilov said Tuesday.

Danilov announced that a unit of Chechen special forces sent to assassinate Zelensky was "eliminated" after the president had warned last week that Russian "sabotage groups" had entered the nation's capital, Kyiv, and were hunting for him and his family.

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"We are well aware of the special operation that was to take place directly by the Kdyrovites to eliminate our president," Danilov said, referring to the Chechen paramilitary organization assisting Russian forces in the invasion of Ukraine.

Danilov said Ukraine received intelligence about the assassination plot from Russian Federal Security Service -- or FSB -- agents who oppose the war.

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"I can say that we received information from representatives of the FSB, who today have no desire to take part in this bloody war," he said.

The unit split into two, with one half destroyed while covering the town of Gostomel, near Kyiv, and the other half "under fire."

Last week, Zelensky told the nation in an address that he was Russia's "number one target," saying Russian forces sought to "destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state."

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He remained in Ukraine with his family despite the threat and on Friday recorded a video along with his top advisers in front of the presidency building to assure he was still in the capital.

"We are here," he said in the video. "We are in Kyiv. We are protecting Ukraine."

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European Union leaders attend a summit at the Chateau de Versailles near Paris on March 11, 2022. Photo by the European Union/ UPI | License Photo

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