7 Dec 2023

Ukraine claims killing of 'traitor' ex-MP Illya Kyva in Russia

11:42 am on 7 December 2023

By Jaroslav Lukiv for BBC

This file photo, taken in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 2, 2019, is showing pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician Illia Kyva during a Ukrainian Parliament meeting. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto) (Photo by NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP)

Former Ukrainian MP Illya Kyva. Photo: AFP / STR

Former Ukrainian MP Illya Kyva has been assassinated in Russia by Ukraine's SBU security service, law enforcement sources have told BBC Ukraine.

"The criminal was liquidated by using small arms," the sources said.

His body was found outside the capital Moscow, Russian investigators said.

Earlier this year, Kyva was given a 14-year jail sentence for high treason and calling publicly for the occupation of Ukraine. He had already fled Ukraine and was convicted in absentia.

Several Ukrainian media outlets also quoted their sources as saying the SBU was behind the assassination of the former lawmaker, who was 46.

"Yes, we can confirm Kyva is no more. This fate will befall other traitors of Ukraine and puppets of Putin's regime," Andriy Yusov, spokesman for Ukraine's military intelligence, told Ukrainian TV.

Russia's SK state investigative committee said preliminary information indicated Kyva was shot dead in the village of Suponevo, to the west of Moscow. A criminal investigation is now under way.

Kyva had campaigned unsuccessfully for Ukraine's presidency in 2019 and left the country only a month before Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

He had been a regular participant in propaganda TV shows on Russia's state-run media.

He had also reportedly been planning to seek political asylum in Russia.

In a separate development, Russian-backed politician Oleg Popov was killed in a car bombing in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk city on Wednesday, local officials said.

Most of the Luhansk region has been seized by Russia. Ukraine has not commented on that attack.

His death came a few weeks after fellow Luhansk region lawmaker Mikhail Filiponenko was killed in a similar attack that was claimed by Kyiv.

Since the Russian invasion, the SBU and military intelligence have claimed a number of successful operations against high-value targets in the country's occupied regions as well as in Russia itself.

Russia's bridge linking occupied Crimea to Russia has been targeted several times, causing substantial damage.

Last week, the SBU said it had blown up a rail connection in Russia's Far East near the border with China that served as a major transportation hub.

- This story was first published by BBC.

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