Russian Official Says Zelenskyy ‘Legitimate Military Target’ 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the media during a press conference as Ukraine marks one year since Russia's large-scale invasion, on February 24, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Old habits certainly die hard, especially in Russia.

A recent op-ed written by Mark Toth and Johnathan Sweet for media outlet The Hill points out Russia is still carrying out Soviet-area tactics to shut down opposition forces, such as lacing tea with poison, having people mysteriously fall out of windows and poisoning people with lead by using a 9mm pistol.

And just last week, the country’s deputy chairman of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, told TASS media — which is run by the state — that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is a “legitimate military target.”

As Medvedev said:

“[Zelensky] already heads a political regime hostile to Russia, which is waging war on us. … Leaders of countries waging war are always considered a legitimate military target.”

Of course, as the op-ed points out, Zelensky isn’t waging war on Russia. He’s rather leading a defensive effort and has been doing so since Russia invaded its neighbor in February of 2022.

Russia originally expected the invasion to take less than two weeks to be successful, but it’s so far dragged on for 28 months. And even though Russia has reportedly sustained more than 500,000 casualties in the process, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.

Because of this, the authors point out that Zelensky is in the cross hairs of not just Russian military members, but also Wagner and Chechen mercenaries, and even assassins from Ukraine. 

From the very beginning, Zelensky has proven to be a formidable opponent for Russia. He refused to evacuate the country, which led to many Ukrainian residents to rally behind him — in addition to the U.S. and other NATO nations that have consistently supported him with military aid.

It was apparent to Russian President Vladimir Putin early on that Ukraine would not go away lightly, as the authors wrote. They said that in March of 2022, a Chechen assassination squad was dispatched from Moscow.

But, Ukrainian security forces stationed at the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv identified those forces and eliminated them before they could get to Zelensky. 

Ramzan Kadyrov, a Chechen leader, later confirmed on his Telegram channel that six servicemen were injured in the ordeal, while two others were killed.

Not long after that, Oleksiy Danilov, who at the time was service as the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Defense Council, said Zelensky survived multiple assassination attempts carried out by mercenaries with Wager PMC and also Chechen special forces.

Ukrainian officials were warned before many of those attempts by anti-war intelligence officers who were working in Russia’s Federal Security Services.

The authors of the op-ed said that Zelensky has survived at least 12 attempts on his life thus far. One of the most recent attempts came in March, where a Russian missile exploded only 500 meters from where a convoy that was carrying him and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the prime minister of Greece, in Odessa. 

If that attack would’ve been successful, NATO likely would have been drawn into the war, since Greece is a member of the alliance.