Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine πŸ’₯πŸ’₯πŸ’₯

Markian Lubkivskyi, an adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister spoke with CNN recently. (CNN)

A senior adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Defense told CNN the notorious Russian private military group Wagner was involved in an alleged assassination plot against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

β€œThey wanted to assassinate the leadership of Ukraine: our President and Prime Minister. That was the goal and a couple of them were sent to Ukraine without any success,” Markian Lubkivskyi, an advisor to Ukraine’s defense minister said.

Lubkivskyi said the plot was confirmed by Ukraine’s intelligence service and special forces in charge of protecting Zelensky.

β€œAll these documents and the necessary proof will be presented to the International Court,” he said, adding that he couldn’t reveal more due to operational reasons.

CNN was unable to independently confirm the claims.

The Wagner group first came to prominence during Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014. Since then, independent research and CNN investigations have found that the private military contractor has operated in Syria and multiple countries in Africa. They have been accused by US officials and human rights watchdogs of sustained human rights abuses.

The group is thought to be connected to β€” and financed by β€” Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch so close to the Kremlin that he is known as Putin’s “chef.”

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any links to the group. Prigozhin denies any involvement in Wagner.

On Thursday, the United Kingdom became the latest country to sanction Wagner.

Lubkivskyi says that Ukrainian intelligence has tracked the group inside and outside of Ukraine and that several Wagner operatives have been killed inside the country, identified by their unique ID tags.

Zelensky has repeatedly committed to staying in Ukraine to marshal the country’s defense during the war, now in its second month.

β€œThe morale of the army is very high because our President is in Kyiv, our Prime Minister and parliament is here. This is very important to support people on the ground, to support the Ukrainian army and this is a very good signal to the international community,” Lubkivsyi said.

Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine

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