A Ukrainian official who was present during the first peace talks between Ukraine and Russia was killed during a mission over the weekend. Ukraine confirmed the official was one of three spies who were killed, but did not say how, and media reporting said he was suspected of treason.
The Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense (GUR) first revealed the death of Ukrainian intelligence operative Denis Kireyev in a Facebook post on March 5. Two other Ukrainian intelligence operatives, Oleksiy Dolya and Valeriy Chibineyev, were also killed over the weekend, the post stated.
“They died defending Ukraine; their deeds have brought us closer to victory!” the post read. “On behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency, we express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims.”
“Heroes do not die,” the post continued. “They live as long as we remember them! Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!”
Kireyev was not officially listed as a delegate at the Feb. 28 talks between the two nations, but he appears in several photos and videos at the event in Homel, Belarus. His role at the talks is unclear.
Journalist Vladislav Davidzon tweeted that Kireyev was reportedly killed by the Ukrainian SBU intel service while resisting arrest after being suspected of treason by the Ukrainians. The New Voice of Ukraine reported that Kireyev was secretly holding phone calls with Russia.
“Denis Kireyev – one of the Ukrainian delegation at the Belarus peace talks in Homel is reported to have been killed by the Ukrainian SBU intel service while trying to escape arrest. He was suspected of treason by the Ukrainians. Extraordinary news,” Davidzon tweeted.
During a speech over the weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Ukrainian fighters pushing back on the Russian invasion for “not giving up” and said there is “no stopping the resistance.”
“Our people, our Ukrainians do not retreat. Not giving up. There’s no stopping the resistance. They scream invaders: go home! Like a Russian ship!” Zelenskyy said.
Ukraine’s military said on Saturday that it shot down at least eight Russian aircraft during the 10th day of the Russian invasion.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated in a Facebook post that two Russian planes, five Russian helicopters, and one Russian drone were shot down. Three enemy pilots were also taken prisoner on Saturday, the post noted.
Among the Russian aircraft shot down were a SU-25, a SU-34, a Mi-8, and an Orlan-10 drone.