Law enforcers thwart attempt on Ukraine's agriculture minister – interior minister

Law enforcers thwart attempt on Ukraine's agriculture minister – interior minister

Ukrinform
Law enforcement officers have detained a group of individuals who were planning to assassinate Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Roman Leshchenko, Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky has said.

According to Ukrinform, he said this at a briefing on Thursday, November 18.

According to Monastyrsky, the assassination attempt is connected with Leshchenko's activity in 2018, even before he held government positions. Monastyrsky said the perpetrators of the assassination attempt tried to seize his property and make him pay off imaginary debts.

"This citizen [who was to be assassinated] is Roman Leshchenko, a Ukrainian government minister," Monastyrsky said, adding that the perpetrators were a citizen of Ukraine and a citizen of the United States.

According to Monastyrsky, back in August 2021, the Department of Strategic Investigations of the National Police received a report that a woman, a Ukrainian citizen, was looking for a killer to commit the contract killing of another Ukrainian citizen. "We always check whether this information is realistic and whether work in this area is expedient," he said.

He noted that the woman who ordered the minister's killing had contacted another person who, according to the plan of the National Police, acted as a killer.

"All communication between the customer and the killer has been recorded as part of criminal proceedings within covert investigative actions. It was also recorded that, in fact, there is another person who ordered the murder - a U.S. citizen - and he is the main perpetrator of this crime," Monastyrsky said.

According to him, Leshchenko was not the first person whose murder was ordered by the U.S. citizen from a fictitious killer.

According to Monastyrsky, the U.S. national previously ordered the murder of a citizen who worked as a debt collector and was supposed to extort debts from a business partner of the U.S. citizen, with whom he cooperated in 2018.

"Some $150,000 was taken for debt collection, which the debt collector did not return to the U.S. citizen. As a result, the latter decided to kill him and carried out such an order. It was a faked killing of this person," Monastyrsky said.

According to him, the murder of the collector was faked, and a photo showing his alleged "burial" was sent to the customer as confirmation.

"They [the customers] made sure that the killer really carries out orders. And they immediately applied for another order [to kill Leshchenko]," Monastyrsky said.

According to the minister, on the evening of Wednesday, July 17, the customers and the "killer" met in a restaurant to discuss all the details of this order in full.

"A $20,000 deposit was provided before the crime was committed, and the U.S. citizen was to leave Ukraine after that, and the crime was to be committed after he arrived in the United States. Therefore, a decision was made to detain this person in accordance with Article 208 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine. The U.S. Embassy was informed [about the case], and only after that the victim, Roman Leshchenko, was informed that such a crime was being prepared against him," Monastyrsky said.

He also showed a video in which the interlocutors discuss the details of the murder.

Leshchenko was appointed Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine in December 2020. Prior to that, he served as head of the State Service for Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre (since June 2020) and as the president's commissioner for land affairs (since October 2019).

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