Advertisement

Ukraine claims assassination of ‘traitor’ ex-MP who fled to Russia

Illia Kvya was shot dead in Moscow allegedly by Ukrainian special services  (NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Illia Kvya was shot dead in Moscow allegedly by Ukrainian special services (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A pro-Russian Ukrainian politician who fled to Moscow after Vladimir Putin’s invasion has been shot dead, with Ukraine’s security service said to be behind the assassination.

Illia Kyva, 46, a former member of Ukraine’s parliament, was shot in a park in Odintsovo region, southwest of Moscow, according to Russian investigators.

A Ukrainian source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the SBU security service was responsible.

Andriy Yusov, spokesperson for Ukraine’s GUR, another intelligence agency, said on Ukrainian television Kyva was “finished” but did not say who was behind his death.

Another source with knowledge of the killing told the Financial Times that Kyva had been killed with a “small arms” weapon.

Only hours before his murder, Kvya accused Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky of “drowning the people in blood”, referring to Ukrainians. He described Mr Zelensky as a “cowardly and narcissistic” leader in a message on Telegram.

Russian investigators are seen at Illia Kyva’s house, a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician who was assassinated yesterday near Moscow (AP)
Russian investigators are seen at Illia Kyva’s house, a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician who was assassinated yesterday near Moscow (AP)

Several pro-war Russian figures have been assassinated since the start of the war in operations blamed by Moscow on Ukraine, including journalist Darya Dugina, war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky and former submarine commander Stanislav Rzhitsky.

All of them were listed in Myrotvorets [Peacemaker], a huge unofficial Ukrainian database of people considered to be enemies of the country.

Kyva’s photo on the site was overwritten with the word “Liquidated” in blood-red letters.

Prior to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Kyva alleged in an interview with a Russian state television channel that his country had become “enslaved and brought to its knees by the West”.

“It has no future,” he said. “Ukraine needs help. The Ukrainian people need liberation.”

He reiterated these comments on a variety of his social media accounts on 24 February, as the first Russian forces were crossing into Ukraine.

He wrote that “Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians are one people”.

Kyva was stripped of his seat in the Ukrainian government in March 2022 and the prosecutor-general filed treason charges against him.

After that, he found his way to Russia, where he applied for asylum.

He was subsequently sentenced in absentia by a Ukrainian court to 14 years in prison for charges including treason and incitement to violence.

Another pro-Russian ex-member of Ukraine’s parliament, Oleg Tsaryov, survived an assassination attempt in Crimea in October.