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Supported Piers Morgan in Ukraine for an interview with President Zelensky

On 20 July, 2022 - Inherent Risks received a request from one of the largest media groups in the world to provide a full suite of risk management services for a high-profile visit to Ukraine, set to take place within the next 72-hours.

In a live brief a few hours later, Inherent Risks' operations team was informed that Piers Morgan had been invited to host the First Lady of Ukraine’s Summit in Kyiv on 24 July, and had been granted a world exclusive joint interview with President and First Lady Zelensky. The interview was scheduled to take place in Kyiv on 25 July.

It was also requested that Inherent Risks provide a security-cleared and experienced Ukrainian Interpreter who would be responsible for interpreting the television interview.

The initial brief included a request for a meet-and-greet service at Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport in Poland to transport Mr. Morgan and his media broadcasting crew and equipment, across the border into Ukraine, and on to Kyiv.

The request was for a full close protection and medical team, executive vehicles and support vehicles, with full protective equipment, including body armour, kevlar helmets, personal and vehicle trauma medical packs, VHF and satellite communications, and live tracking.

By road, this journey is 718km and typically takes 12-hours with rest breaks and fuel stops. In the timeline suggested, Inherent Risks suggested an alternative plan which was to transport Mr. Morgan and his team from Rzeszów to Przemyśl, a journey of 100km, for transport to Kyiv via an overnight train.

The request by the media client then became two-fold. One team to transport the group to Medyka for transport by train, with a second team travelling to Kyiv by road as a contingency.

A considerable amount of planning and resources was undertaken by Inherent Risks for this task, which included liaising with aviation authorities in Spain and Poland, law enforcement in Poland, intelligence agencies in Poland and Ukraine, and directly with President Zelensky's Chief of Staff.

On July 23, the initial plan was for Mr. Morgan to travel by air via private plane from an undisclosed location in Spain, to Rzeszów, Poland. Due to matters outside of Inherent Risks' control, there was already a tight deadline for the time the plane was due to land, to then make the journey on-time to catch the scheduled train departure.

At 14:00hrs, Inherent Risks was then informed that Mr. Morgan's plane had experienced a technical problem and would be delayed from taking off by a further four hours. This now made it impossible to make the scheduled train departure and so alternative options were being assessed.

"I received a phone call from the Palace with a messages directly from President Zelensky that he had ordered his own train to wait as long as possible in Medyka for Mr. Morgan to arrive. In no uncertain terms, he urged us to do everything possible for Mr. Morgan to be on that train, and if not, for him to be at the Palace by 9am the following morning." Said Dan Kaine, Director of Risk Advisory

On this train, Inherent Risks' was made aware would be the Presidents, Prime Ministers and First Ladies of several countries who would be attending the Summit. A train that had been scheduled to depart at 18:00hrs.

It was at this same time that Inherent Risks operations had identified a replacement aircraft that was available immediately at an airport in Spain a short flight away from Mr. Morgan's location.

At 15:00hrs, the plane with Mr. Morgan and his crew departed Spain, with an estimated arrival time of 19:30hrs. The Inherent Risks' close protection team arrived at Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport at 18:00hrs to conduct advance surveillance and security measures, and to confirm any administration required with the private client arrivals lounge.

"When we arrived at the airport in Rzeszów, we were greeted by a second motorcade with drivers from the Ukrainian Embassy in Warsaw. Poland. They had not been made aware of our firm's involvement and we had not been made aware of their involvement. That's just one of those anomalies you deal with at the time." Said Kaine.

At this time, it was decided that Inherent Risks would take lead on the task, with Embassy staff supporting.

The flight arrived at 19:45hrs and once the passengers had disembarked, and baggage had been unloaded, clearing security and customs, it was 20:20hrs. Packing the waiting vehicles with broadcasting equipment and 30+ bags took another 30-minutes, and after a security and safety brief, the close protection team departed Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport at 21:00hrs.

Driving in convoy with the Embassy, a motorcade of eight vehicles made its way at high-speed to the train station in Przemyśl, a journey which was safely completed in 45-minutes.

"On arrival at the train station, there were secret service and diplomatic close protection teams in armoured vehicles from several countries, surrounding the train station, and the waiting Presidential train. Onboard were over thirty leaders and their spouses of EU countries, en-route to the Summit. By now they had been delayed for four-hours waiting for Mr. Morgan's arrival." Kaine added.

There was a rush to load the train with equipment. The Inherent Risks team remained at the train station until after the train had departed; and it was confirmed it had crossed the border into Ukraine at Medyka.

At this point, the Inherent Risks teams in Lviv and Kyiv were placed on standby in-case they were required for one-the-ground emergency medical evacuation and/or security response.

Piers Morgan meets President and First Lady Zelensky at the Presidential Palace in Kyiv.

Within three-hours of Mr. Morgan meeting the Zelensky's, Inherent Risks media client extended the task to request on-the-ground, security and logistics support in Kyiv for a further meeting with former professional boxers, and politicians, the Klitschko brothers.

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