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Russian invasion of Ukraine

Assassination attempt by Russia on Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy foiled, assassins killed

According to Ukrainian sources a group of Chechen fighters was "eliminated" when they were involved in an attempt to kill the Ukrainian head of state.

According to Ukrainian sources a group of Chechen fighters was "eliminated" when they were involved in an attempt to kill the Ukrainian head of state.

An attempt by Chechen fighters to kill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was thwarted and the attackers killed, according to the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine.

In a statement by NSDC secretary, Oleksiy Danilov, an "elite group of Kadyrovtsi [Kadyrov's thugs] were terminated" as they took part in a mission to kill the Ukrainian President.

Removing President Zelenskyy is widely seen as one of Russia's key goals in its invasion of Ukraine, which started last Thursday.

Chechen soldiers in Ukraine

Kadyrov refers to Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of the Chechen Republic, who is a staunch supporter of Putin and has sent troops to support the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He said he had sent 10,000 troops, however according to journalist Justin Ling, this is likely a vast overestimate. He also said the "carefully manicured ethos" presenting the Chechen fighters "are extremely ruthless" was mostly Russian propaganda.

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Ukraine being hit by heavy bombing and missile strikes

The alleged thwarted assassination attempt comes as Russian steps up its military campaign against Ukraine, having struggled to make as quick progress as the Russian army had expected.

The capital Kyiv has been hit by strikes on residential neighbourhoods, while the second-largest city Kharkiv has again come in for heavy bombing. There are also reports that residential areas in Zhytomyr, a city in northwest Ukraine have been attacked.

Zelenskyy staying put to lead defense of Ukraine

President Zelenskyy has decided to stay in the capital Kyiv, despite acknowledging the high risk to his own life if captured by the Russians.

When urged to head to safety by western countries the former comedian said he "needed ammunition not a ride".

Zelenskyy has been highly active diplomatically during the first days of the invasion of his country, reaching out by telephone to the leaders of many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdon and many EU nations, including France and Germany. He has pleaded with them for support, both material and financial, as well as the imposition of tougher sanctions against Russia, and for fast-tracked entry to the EU for Ukraine.

Some of these requests have been met, with the donation of significant amounts of military supplies to the Ukrainian army, as well as unprecedented sanctions on the Russian economy, which is taking a heavy toll on that country. While EU leaders have talked favourably about the entry of Ukraine into the Union, the reality is that this would likely be a lengthy process, given the bureaucracy involved and the need for unanimity in the bloc, no matter the urgency felt in Ukraine.