I have read multiple news stories that, at the beginning of the war, Russia knew of Volodymyr Zelenskyy's location. They tried to send assassination squads to kill him but failed. A few weeks back Zelenskyy himself told news media where he was and openly challenged Russia to come and get him.

My question is: If one of Russia's main goals is to decapitate the Ukrainian government by killing its president then why doesn't it concentrate all its bombings on that one location? Air power, artillery, cruise missiles, bunker buster bombs, etc. If he's somewhere underground then drop limited radius chemical weapons everyday on that location. Other heads of state from different countries and major news networks seem to be visiting him on a weekly basis so tracking them and thus Zelenskyy's location won't be a problem. Multiple drones or attack aircraft flying overhead 24/7 so that as soon as he steps out in public, send a missile.

Does Russia have no good satellite or surveillance programs to know where Zelenskyy is each and every moment or are they just inept. I don't get it.


1 Answer 1


Russia apparently did make some attempt to capture/kill Zelenskyy at the start of the war, but since then they've held back; in fact they have avoided attacking Ukraine's decision-making centers directly:

The Russian military so far has avoided striking presidential, government and military headquarters in Kyiv during its campaign in Ukraine that has entered a third month.

They undoubtedly can launch these attacks, so they clearly lack the desire to do it. Why? Nobody except the Russian high command knows. I would guess that the assumption that one of Russia's goals is to "decapitate the Ukrainian government" is incorrect, but it's a guess - nobody except the Russian high command knows.

  • It's clear the original plan/ theory was that a blitz to Kyiv along with elimination of the Ukrainian leadership would lead to a collapse of any opposition to the invasion and the Ukrainian army would quickly surrender. It's quite clear at this point that isn't going to work, thus killing Zelensky would serve no real purpose. The realistic best case scenario for Russia at this point is some kind of settlement -- this requires opposition leaders to negotiate with.
    – eps
    Apr 30 at 21:55
  • 1
    You should probably add "allegedly" to the first sentence. Your source is a single person which benefits greatly from hearsay...
    – uberhaxed
    May 1 at 17:37
  • Capturing him is likely to have been a more probable goal, per the article you've linked. Or causing him to flee, which would have made a Russia-backed regime more easy to install. The Kremlin has been rather vague what they meant by "denazify". But events in cities like Kherson do shed some light what that means in practice.
    – Fizz
    May 2 at 9:13

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