Zelensky Fires Bodyguard Chief After Officers Arrested Over Assassination Attempt

Zelensky Fires Bodyguard Chief After Officers Arrested Over Assassination Attempt

Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the head of the unit that protects Ukraine’s top officials following the arrest of two colonels who were allegedly involved in a Russian plot to assassinate the president.

Serhiy Rud, who was fired by a decree signed Thursday evening by Zelensky, had been in his post since 2019 and previously led the president’s personal security unit. He survived in his position since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022 despite multiple reported attempts to kill the country’s leader.

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“Intelligence said there were already 10 attempts,” Zelensky told Italian Rai-1 broadcaster in early March. “I don’t count.” The interview took place soon after Zelensky and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appeared to be targeted in a Russian missile strike on the port of Odesa.

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The detention on suspicion of high treason of the two colonels on the 7th May—the day of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration—were the first among high-ranking officers serving as lead-protection bodyguards. The State Security Service known as SBU said it had foiled a plot to assassinate both the president and other high-ranking officials including Military Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov and SBU chief Vasyl Malyuk.

“The terrorist attack, which was supposed to become a present to Putin on his inauguration, has turned into a failure of the Russian special service,” Vasyl Malyuk, the SBU head, said in a statement.

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