A group of Chechen assassins sent to kill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were “eliminated” after their plot was foiled, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council said Tuesday.
The announcement from Oleksiy Danilov came days after Ukraine’s military reportedly destroyed a column of Chechen tanks controlled by Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov near Hostomel, a key battleground outside Kyiv.
“The Kadyrov forces unit, which came to kill our President, was eliminated,” Danilov told Ukraine 24 TV. “We will not give our president or our country to anyone. This is our land, get out of here.”
Danilov said information about the Chechen plot came from agents from Russia’s FSB security service who are opposed to the war.
He said the group had split into two, with one near Hostomel eliminated and the other “under gunpoint.”
On Saturday, Ukrainian news agency The Kyiv Independent reported that Ukrainian forces had destroyed a Chechen special forces column of 56 tanks near Hostomel.
Знищено Магомеда Тушаєва, керівника 141 моторизованого полку кадировської гвардії!???????????? pic.twitter.com/BHmoCGOKJU
— ВОЇНИ УКРАЇНИ???????? (@ArmedForcesUkr) February 26, 2022
According to the report, which the outlet said was confirmed by the Ukrainian President’s Office, the attack killed top Chechen general Magomed Tushayev, head of the 141 motorized regiment of the Chechnya National Guard.
Kadyrov, a former rebel-turned-Kremlin-ally, said Tuesday that Chechens had been killed in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Unfortunately, there are already losses among the natives of the Chechen Republic. Two died, six more were injured to varying degrees,” Kadyrov said on Telegram.
He said the killed Chechen fighters “chose to become heroes.”
“Yes, they kill in war and that was their choice of profession,” he said.
Earlier reports indicated that the Chechen unit had been deployed to “capture and kill” Ukrainian leaders.
Zelensky has said that he is the Kremlin’s number one target and his family the second highest on Russia’s kill list.
He told CNN today that he had not seen his family in three days.