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Gunmen Open Fire on Car of Ukrainian President’s Assistant

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, accompanied by his aide Serhiy Shefir, other officials and bodyguards, walks from the parliament to the presidential administration office after his inauguration in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 20, 2019.

Gunmen opened fire Wednesday on a car carrying a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, according to national police.

Zelenskiy, who is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, said in a video statement there would be a “strong response” to what a senior official described as an assassination attempt on presidential advisor Serhiy Shefir.

While the official said the attack might have been a message intended for Zelenskiy, another presidential advisor, Mykhailo Podolyak, said it was in response to an effort to limit the influence of oligarchs.

Zelenskiy won the presidency after vowing to confront the country's oligarchs and fight corruption.

“This does not affect the course that I have chosen with my team, towards changes, towards de-shadowing our economy, towards fighting criminals and large, influential financial groups,” Zelenskiy said.

A prosecutor said the car had been hit 18 times, wounding the driver but leaving Shefir unharmed.

“I have not conducted any cases that would have caused aggression. I think this is intimidation," Shefir said at a joint news briefing with police and Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky.

“I think this won't frighten the president,” he added.

Police said no arrests have been made but that they had launched a criminal investigation on suspicion of premeditated murder.

Some information in this report was provided by The Associated Press and Reuters.