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Two ‘traitors of Ukraine’ killed in separate incidents

Illya Kyva (Visem/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Two Ukrainians who collaborated with Russian authorities have been killed — one in a shooting in a village southwest of Moscow and the other in a car bombing in the Russian-occupied part of Ukraine’s Luhansk region.

Ukrainian law enforcement sources told RFE/RL on December 6 that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) “liquidated” former Ukrainian lawmaker Illya Kyva by shooting him to death in a special operation.

Russia’s Investigative Committee later confirmed Kyva’s death and announced that a criminal investigation has been opened.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement that an unknown person shot Kyva in the village of Suponevo in the Bryansk region southwest of Moscow and he “died of his injuries on the spot.”

Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence, said in televised remarks that Kyva was “done,” adding that “the same fate will befall other traitors of Ukraine and accomplices of Putin’s regime.”

Yusov did not say who was behind his death but said “justice takes different forms.”

Kyva was known for his pro-Russian stance. A court in Ukraine’s western city of Lviv last month sentenced him in absentia to 14 years in prison after finding him guilty of high treason.

After Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Kyva moved to Russia, where he took part in televised pro-Kremlin talk shows and roundtable discussions.

The death of the other Ukrainian who collaborated with Russia, Oleh Popov, a former de facto lawmaker in a part of Ukraine’s Luhansk region occupied by Russia, was also reported on December 6. Popov was killed by an explosive device that detonated in his car in the city of Luhansk.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement that it launched a probe into Popov’s death.

Popov headed the Russian-installed government’s committee on state security and defense, law enforcement agencies, the judicial system, and the protection of human and civil rights.

Yury Yorov, a member of the de facto parliament in Luhansk, was quoted by Interfax as saying that in September 2022 an attempt was made on Popov’s life that he said was organized by the SBU.

Several Ukrainian nationals accused of collaborating with occupying Russian authorities have been targeted in recent years, and some of them have been killed.

Most recently, a de facto lawmaker of the Russian-installed regional assembly in Luhansk, Mykhaylo Filiponenko, was killed last month in a car bombing. Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence claimed responsibility for that killing.

Russia has accused Ukrainian special services of organizing the assassinations. Kyiv rarely claims responsibility for the attacks.

Days before Russia launched its ongoing invasion, Kremlin-backed separatist leaders of parts of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognize the two regions’ independence from Ukraine.

Russian lawmakers in mid-February 2022 also called on Putin to recognize separatist-controlled parts of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states and ratified corresponding documents after Putin signed them.

Moscow used the documents to justify its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, launched on February 24, 2022.