The battle-hardened Ukrainian president also accused Moscow of ‘lighting fires’ across the world and bringing the planet to the brink of a Third World War with its lawless and barbaric war in Europe.
He alleged that Putin is in support of the attack on Israel by Hamas, citing the apparent strengthening of Russia’s relationship with Iran, which supports the terrorist group and has supplied kamikaze drones to Moscow.
Zelensky claimed Ukraine’s intelligence services have foiled repeated bids to kill him since the February 24 invasion.
He also revealed that the Kremlin is plotting to topple him before the end of the year in a mission apparently dubbed ‘Maidan 3’ – a reference to the Euromaidan revolution of 2014 which sparked the Russian annexation of Crimea and led to the outbreak of war.
‘The first [assassination attempt] is very interesting, when it is the first time, and after that it is just like Covid,’ he told The Sun newspaper. ‘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 just sharing with you detail that one more group came to Ukraine to [attempt] this.’
Zelensky added: ‘Ukraine today [is] in the centre of these global risks of this Third World War. And I really think that Russia will push until the United States and China together will tell them very, very seriously to go out of [our] territory.’
It comes as US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin pledged further American support for Ukraine during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday to stem concerns that help from its biggest ally could waver.
The US has provided over $40billion in security aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion and pledged to back Kyiv for ‘as long as it takes’ but opposition from hardline Republicans has raised doubts about the future of US assistance.
Austin announced ‘another $100million drawdown… to provide additional artillery munitions, additional interceptors for air defence, and a number of anti-tank weapons’ during a press conference at St Michael’s Square in Kyiv.
In Washington, the State Department said the assistance includes three million rounds of small-arms ammunition and equipment for HIMARS precision rocket launchers.
Zelensky thanked the US for the additional package in his nightly address, noting that ‘there will be more artillery-shells that are needed right now.’
The two had met a few hours earlier, and Austin ensured US support would not lapse.