Car with Zelenskyy’s top aide riddled with bullets in assassination attempt
President’s longtime friend survives amid string of assassinations and attempts on other high-level figures since start of east Ukraine war

KYIV – At about 10 a.m. on September 22, one or more shooter fired a volley of at least 18 bullets from the woods at a black, four-door Audi sedan along the road between the villages of Lisnyky and Khodosivka in Kyiv Oblast. Inside the vehicle was the president’s top aide, Serhiy Shefir, and a driver. The unidentified driver was shot three times and hospitalized in critical condition while Mr. Shefir survived unscathed. “The purpose of this crime was not to scare, but to kill,” Interior Affairs Minister Denys Monastyrsky said at a joint briefing the same day with Mr. Shefir. “Greeting me with shots from the forest at my friend’s car is a weakness.

Parliament approves ‘oligarch law,’ day after attack on top presidential aide

Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a draft bill directed at limiting the influence of oligarchs, the day after a car carrying a top aide of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who pushed for the reform, was riddled with bullets as it traveled through a village.

The second and final reading of the proposed legislation – known as “the oligarch law” – was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on September 23.

Zelenskyy pleads with U.N. to do more to end Russia’s war against Ukraine

KYIV – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an impassioned speech at the 76th United Nations General Assembly in which he called on the world’s most prominent diplomatic convocation to do more to help end Russia’s war against his eastern European country.

Given on September 22 while back home assassins attempted to kill one of his top confidantes the same day, Mr. Zelenskyy told the assembly that it needs to live up to its mandate of maintaining peace and order throughout the world.

U.S. House votes for sanctions in 11th-hour attempt to undermine Nord Stream 2

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has agreed to add legislation to the annual defense-spending bill that would place sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 project, potentially putting in jeopardy an agreement reached between the Biden administ­ration and Germany in July.

The House on September 22 unanimously passed on a voice vote a package of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including the sanctions legislation.

Kyiv airing disappointment with Western policies

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelens­kyy is reverting to his earlier, forlorn hopes of improving relations with Russia through a personal meeting with President Vladimir Putin. The Ukrainian president is eager to meet Mr. Putin “any time, any place” – whether bilaterally or in the framework of a “Normandy” summit (Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France). The chief of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, is negotiating the conditions for a Zelenskyy-Putin meeting in either of those formats. This track ended badly for Mr. Zelenskyy in 2019 (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, October 3, 16, 17, December 5, 2019).


Parliament passes bill banning anti-Semitism

Ukraine’s parliament has passed a law defining anti-Semitism and banning it in the country. The Verkhovna Rada on September 22 approved a second reading of the bill by 283 votes with the required minimum of 226, sending it to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for his signature to become law. Mr. Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, has said he lost relatives in the Holocaust. An estimated 0.2 percent of Ukraine’s population of 41 million is Jewish. The legislation defines anti-Semitism as hatred of Jews, calling for or justifying attacks on the minority, making false or hateful statements about Jews and denying the mass extermination of Jews during the Holocaust.

President Zelenskyy meets with Ukrainian community in New York

NEW YORK – President Volodymyr Zelens­kyy met with dozens of leaders representing various Ukrainian community organizations at the Ukrainian Institute of America (UIA) on September 21 during his working visit to the United States. His primary reason for the visit to the U.S. was to participate in the opening of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Following the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem, Mr. Zelenskyy began his address by highlighting the active role of the Ukrainian community in the U.S. and its close working relationship with Ukraine.

Thousands take part in 10th annual gay pride parade in Kyiv
In a shift from previous years, this year’s participants did not face violence

KYIV – Some 7,000 supporters of LGBT rights marched peacefully on September 19 in Ukraine’s capital in what was this city’s 10th gay pride parade. Organizers of the march said that, as opposed to previous pride parades that did incur violence, this year’s march was peaceful with only a handful of minor provocations.

This was also the first time that organizers of the march expressed demands on the Ukrainian government. Those demands, published in a manifesto signed by 15 non-governmental organizations, asked the Ukrainian government to adopt a bill to combat discrimination and create a procedure for holding people who commit crimes motivated by homophobia, transphobia and other forms of intolerance legally liable.

Detailing Andriy Shevchenko’s departure from the Ukrainian national soccer team

Andriy Shevchenko’s September 3 press conference sent tremors across Ukraine’s football landscape. The coach rocked and shocked the public when he revealed his reasons for departing the coaching duties of the country’s national team.

Ukraine’s national soccer team performed well at the Euro 2020 soccer championship, benefiting from some good luck, but, nonetheless, exhibiting positive results. Indeed, the quarterfinal showing by the young Ukrainian squad, still in a development stage, turned out to be quite successful.