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Gunmen target aide to Ukrainian president in alleged assassination attempt

KYIV, Ukraine — Gunmen opened fire today with automatic weapons on a car carrying a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in what officials say was an attempted assassination in response to his crackdown on oligarchs.

Serhiy Shefir, a 57-year-old former scriptwriter and longtime associate of comedian-turned-politician Zelensky, is reported to have escaped without serious injury.

An adviser to the interior minister, Anton Herashchenko, said on Facebook that the attack took place around 10 a.m. local time near the village of Lisnyky south of the capital Kiev.

He says that Shefir’s driver was “seriously injured” and that police had launched a special operation in the area.

“Unidentified individuals fired about 10 shots from a 7.62 caliber automatic weapon,” Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova says on Facebook.

She says that the authorities had opened an attempted murder investigation.

Photos published by officials show a black Audi with bullet holes along its hood and on the driver-side door.

Official reports don’t say whether Shefir was injured, but a lawmaker representing Zelensky’s “Servant of the People” party says that he is fine.

“I briefly spoke to him, everything is fine, he is alive and well,” Davyd Arakhamia is quoted by Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

He says that police had taken Shefir to a “safe” location.

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