A lawmaker from Ukraine who supported Russia and escaped to Moscow during Russia’s invasion has been discovered dead. Shot to the head, Illia Kyva succumbed to his injuries. He was allegedly killed for treason by the Ukrainian security agency, according to a source in the nation.
When Russia massed troops on its border with Ukraine last February, most of the country’s politicians immediately put their differences aside and rallied around President Volodomyr Zelenskyy. Failed presidential candidate and Socialist Party leader Illia Kyva was one of the few exceptions. Kyva spoke out in support of Putin, urging him to invade — and then, before Russian tanks crossed the border, he fled. First he went to Spain, and then completed his defection and moved to Moscow. Last summer, as the Russian offensive began to falter. Kyva called on Putin to use weapons of mass destruction against his own country. Unsurprisingly, Ukraine accused him of treason.
Kyva continued to upset Ukraine after that outburst by appearing frequently on Russian talk shows. Since his return to face arrest is highly unlikely, it appears that Ukraine’s secret agencies opted to take more direct action after a court sentenced him to 14 years in prison for treason in November. A fatal gunshot wound to the head was discovered on December 6th on Kyva in a Moscow suburb. A murder probe has been launched by Russia.
There’s probably no great mystery about who was behind the killing, though. Briefing journalists anonymously, a Ukrainian defense source said the SBU security service had killed Kyva. The renegade lawmaker is just one of several pro-Putin figures who’s been injured or killed in bomb and shooting attacks since the war began, and Russia has a habit of blaming Ukraine instead of one of the regime’s many internal enemies. However, it looks like this time Kyiv actually did send the assassin.
Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, informed journalists that Kyva had been “done” and threatened that “other traitors… and accomplices of Putin’s regime” may anticipate facing the same consequences.