A car transporting a senior aide to Ukraine’s president was targeted for gunfire on Sept. 22.
Authorities estimate the black sedan carrying Serhiy Shefir was shot 10 times near Lesnyky village, outside the capitol of Kyiv. However, one local news broadcaster discovered evidence of 19 bullets on the driver’s side.
The 57 year-old aide survived the attack and was unharmed. However, the driver suffered multiple injuries according to Reuters.
“I briefly spoke to him [Shefir and] everything is fine, he is alive and well,” Servant of the People faction leader Davyd Arakhamia said according to Al Jazeera.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was away for the United Nations General Assembly in New York City at the time of the attack. Shefir has a close relationship with the incumbent and leads a team of presidential advisers.
Authorities had not named any persons of interest at the time of publication. Zelenskiy suspects his political opponents are trying to intimidate him.
“Sending me a message by shooting my friend is weakness,” he said according to Reuters. “It does not affect the strength of our team, the course that I have chosen with my team–to change, clean up our economy, [and] fight crime and large influential financial groups.”
Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak speculates the attack could be linked to Zelenskiy’s anti-oligarch crusade.
“We, of course, associate this attack with an aggressive and even militant campaign against the active policy of the head of state,” Podolyak said according to the newswire agency.
Zelenskiy is uncertain whether the oligarch orchestrated the attack.
“Who is behind this, frankly, I do not know,” he said according to Deutsche Welle. “What are these powers? Could be internal, maybe external.”
Servant of the People Party leader Oleksandr Korniienko suggested the Russian government could have been involved.
“We know their [Russia’s] ability to organize terrorist attacks in different countries,” he said according to Reuters.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refuted any suggestion Russia was linked to the attempted assassination. He described such claims as exaggerated.
Police is treating the matter as a criminal case on suspicion of premeditated murder.