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Volodymyr Zelensky says he survived at least five assassination attempts by Putin

President Zelensky and Lachlan Murdoch in Kyiv
President Zelensky and Lachlan Murdoch in Kyiv - Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

Volodymyr Zelensky says he has been the target of at least five assassination attempts he believes were orchestrated by Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian president described how Kyiv received intelligence each time the Russian president plotted for “one more group” to come looking for him. Mr Zelensky said that after a while the threat had become “just like Covid”.

“The first one is very interesting, when it is the first time, and after that it is just like Covid,” he told The Sun.

“First of all, people don’t know what to do with it and it’s looking very scary.

“And then after that, it is just intelligence sharing with you – detail that one more group came to Ukraine to (attempt) this.”

Mr Zelensky revealed details of the attempts on his life during discussions with reporters from The Sun and Fox News and their boss Lachlan Murdoch, who in September took over News Corp and its subsidiaries from Rupert Murdoch, his media mogul father.

The Ukrainian president also reportedly accused the Kremlin of helping Hamas launch attacks in Israel, and warned that the Ukraine-Russia conflict could spiral into a Third World War.

The visit from Mr Murdoch – who now controls many of the world’s most influential media networks – comes amid the president’s pleas for journalists to keep a spotlight on Ukraine and at a time American Republicans and Democrats row over how much more American money should be sent to Kyiv.

Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary, also travelled to the Ukrainian capital on Monday.

President Zelensky and Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary
President Zelensky and Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary - SHUTTERSTOCK

According to his website, Mr Zelensky thanked reporters across the globe for garnering support and countering Russian misinformation.

“All this time, journalists, cameramen, editors, photographers, drivers have been on the frontline,” he said.

“As this is a hybrid war, information is also a weapon in Russian hands.

“My sincere condolences to the families and friends of those very brave men and women who lost their lives trying to show what is happening in Ukraine.”

He also again urged Western leaders to fund aid and weapons for Ukraine.

“For some reason, people treat it like a movie and expect that there will be no long pauses in the events, that the picture before their eyes will always change, that there will be some surprises every day,” Mr Zelensky said.

“But for us, for our warriors, this is not a movie. These are our lives. This is daily hard work. And it will not be over as quickly as we would like, but we have no right to give up and we will not.”

Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall and The Sun journalist Jerome Starkey spoke with the president in his Kyiv office.

Mr Zelensky awarded Mr Hall with the Order of Merit, third class, in recognition of courageous acts by the British journalist who risked his life to report on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Hall, 41, was injured during a shelling attack while covering the conflict near Kyiv in March 2022. His colleagues, London-based Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova, were killed.

Benjamin Hall was injured during a shelling attack while covering the conflict near Kyiv in March 2022
Benjamin Hall was injured during a shelling attack while covering the conflict near Kyiv in March 2022 - Fox News

Mr Hall was taken to hospital in Kyiv after the attack before being evacuated to a hospital in Texas.

“To sum it up, I’ve lost half a leg on one side and a foot on the other,” he tweeted at the time.

“One hand is being put together, one eye is no longer working, and my hearing is pretty blown... but all in all I feel pretty damn lucky to be here – and it is the people who got me here who are amazing.”

He returned to live reporting in January this year.

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