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Pro-Russia Ukrainian MP Illia Kyva shot dead in Moscow suburb

<span>Photograph: SOPA Images Limited/Alamy</span>
Photograph: SOPA Images Limited/Alamy

A former Ukrainian MP regarded by Kyiv as a traitor has been shot dead in a park in suburban Moscow , in an attack attributed to Ukraine’s SBU security service.

Illia Kyva was a pro-Russian member of Ukraine’s parliament before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but fled to Russia a month before the start of the war and frequently criticised Ukrainian authorities online and on Russian state TV talkshows.

Russian investigators said in a statement on Wednesday that Kyva had been shot, adding that his body was discovered in a park in the elite Moscow suburb of Odintsovo.

“An unknown person fired shots at the victim from an unidentified weapon. The man died on the spot from his injuries,” Russia’s investigative committee said in a statement.

A Ukrainian source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the Ukrainian SBU security service was responsible for the killing. Several Ukrainian media outlets also cited their sources as saying the SBU had assassinated the 46-year-old former politician.

In a comment to national TV, Ukraine’s military intelligence spokesperson Andriy Yusov hinted at the country’s involvement in the killing: “We can confirm that Kyva is done. Such a fate will befall other traitors of Ukraine, as well as the henchmen of the Putin regime.”

Yusov called Kyva “one of the biggest scumbags, traitors and collaborators” and said his death was “justice”.

Kyva, who had sanctions imposed on him last year by the UK for “undermining the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”, had been sentenced in absentia by a Ukrainian court to 14 years in prison for charges including treason and incitement to violence.

The killing suggests that Kyiv continues to have undercover assets deep inside Russia. Moscow has previously blamed Ukrainian secret services for the assassination of Darya Dugina, the daughter of an ultra-nationalist Russian ideologue, and the death of Vladlen Tatarsky, a prominent Russian military blogger who was killed after a blast in a cafe in central St Petersburg.

In a separate attack on Wednesday, a Russian-backed politician in occupied Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk regions was killed in a car bombing.

Oleg Popov, who served as a deputy in the pro-Moscow Luhansk regional parliament, was killed after the “detonation of an unidentified device in a car”, Russia’s investigative committee said, without providing detail.

Ukraine did not immediately comment on Popov’s reported death.

Several Russian-controlled officials in eastern Ukraine have been killed since the start of the war.