According to the Daily Mail, more than 400 Russian mercenaries have been flown in from Africa to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to the report, Vladimir Putin has given the Wagner Group, a private militia, orders to kill Zelensky and 23 other government figures in order for Moscow to take over its eastern European neighbour.
According to the Times of London, the army-for-hire, led by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin – a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin known as ‘Putin’s chef’ – was flown in five weeks ago and is being paid a fortune for the mission.
The highly-trained operatives are said to be waiting for the Kremlin’s green light to strike, with Ukraine’s prime minister, the entire cabinet, and Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir – both boxing champions who have become iconic figures on the front lines of the capital – on their hit list.
The plans, however, were rumbled after they reached the upper echelons of the Ukrainian government on Saturday morning, according to the report.
It prompted Kyiv to impose a 36-hour “hard” curfew, ordering everyone to stay indoors so that soldiers could sweep the streets for Russian saboteurs.
Citizens were warned that if they were seen outside during the curfew hours, they could be ‘liquidated,’ as they could be mistaken for the enemy.
According to a source familiar with the Wagner Group’s activities, between 2,000 and 4,000 mercenaries arrived in Ukraine in January, but with different missions.
Some were dispatched to the rebel-held regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in the country’s east, while the 400 men tasked with assassinating Zelensky arrived in Kyiv from Belarus.
The group is said to be tracking Zelesnky and his colleagues on their mobile phones, claiming to know where they are at all times, according to the Daily Mail.
Another source claimed that the assassins-for-hire have been told to slow down while Putin holds ‘peace talks’ with Zelensky this week.
However, they have allegedly been informed that the Russian leader has no desire to reach an agreement, labelling the meeting on the Belarus border as’smoke and mirrors,’ according to the report.
The news of their assassination plans did not seem to bother Zelensky, who admitted during a speech to the nation that he was ‘target number one,’ and that Russian special forces were looking for him.