Who killed Illia Kyva? Ukraine Claims Pro-Russia MP’s Moscow Assassination

A former Ukrainian lawmaker, who had taken refuge in Russia and faced charges of treason in Ukraine, was fatally shot in a village near Moscow, according to Russian investigators on Wednesday 06, Dec.

Here’s what we know so far about who killed Illia Kyva.

Who was Illia Kyva? 

Illia Kyva, a Ukrainian politician, served in the Verkhovna Rada from August 29, 2019, until March 15, 2022.

Mr Kyva (right) in Ukraine's parliament back in October 16, 2019. (AFP Sergii KharchenkoNurPhoto)
Mr Kyva (right) in Ukraine’s parliament back in October 16, 2019. (AFP Sergii KharchenkoNurPhoto)

As a member of the Opposition Platform — For Life party, Kyva defected to Russia during the February 2022 invasion. Notably, he openly supported Russia’s actions in the conflict and urged Ukrainians to surrender. Kyva’s decision and subsequent activities sparked controversy, leading many in Ukraine to view him as a traitor.

Mr Kyva was a frequent critic of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Mr Kyva was a frequent critic of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

What do we know about his death – Who killed Illia Kyva?

Russian investigators reported that Mr. Illia Kyva was shot and found in a Moscow park on Wednesday.

“In an unidentified attack, an unknown assailant shot the victim, resulting in his immediate demise,” stated Russia’s Investigative Committee.

A case has been initiated to probe the circumstances surrounding his death.

Mr Kyva had defected to Russia since the beginning of its 2022 invasion of Ukraine.   (Reuters: Gleb Garanich)

A source from Kyiv Post has verified that the SBU assassinated Mr. Illia Kyva

“He was taken out with small arms,” the source stated, labeling the former politician as “a major traitor, collaborator, and propagandist,” as reported by the publication.

Addressing the nation on television, Andriy Yusov, spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence, discussed the demise of Mr. Kyva.

“Such a fate will befall other traitors of Ukraine, as well as the henchmen of the Putin regime,” he said. 

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

What triggered the assassination of ex-MP Illia Kyva in Russia?

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) is suspected of orchestrating the assassination. Andriy Yusov, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s GUR intelligence agency, labeled Illia Kyva as “one of the biggest scumbags, traitors, and collaborators,” asserting that his demise was a form of “justice.” The motivation behind Kyva’s killing is thought to stem from his defection to Russia and his alignment with Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The AFP source says the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) was behind the hit on Mr Kyva. (Reuters: Gleb Garanich)

Why did Ukraine openly admit responsibility for Kyva’s assassination?

Ukraine openly acknowledged its role in the assassination of Kyva after the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed responsibility for the killing. Andriy Yusov, Ukraine’s defense intelligence spokesperson, verified that Kyva fell victim to a “special operation of the Security Service of Ukraine.” Yusov bluntly described Illia Kyva as “one of the biggest scoundrels, traitors, and collaborators,” asserting that his demise was a form of “justice.”

The main motivations behind Ukraine’s admission to Kyva’s assassination include:

  1. Ukraine openly claims responsibility for the assassination of a pro-Russian figure, Kyva, through its Security Service (SBU).
  2. Andriy Yusov, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence, labels Kyva as a “biggest scumbag, traitor, and collaborator,” justifying the killing as “justice” and warning of similar consequences for other perceived traitors.
  3. There is a noticeable shift in Ukraine’s approach as it openly admits responsibility for targeted attacks on pro-Russian figures and threatens to pursue other “collaborators” and “traitors.”
  4. Previous incidents, including the killing of Darya Dugina and the St Petersburg cafe explosion that killed Vladlen Tatarsky, are referenced, noting that Ukraine had not publicly claimed responsibility for those attacks despite U.S. intelligence and media reports linking Kyiv to them.
  5. A separate incident in Luhansk on the same day involved the car bombing of proxy lawmaker Oleg Popov, with the Russian Investigative Committee reporting the “detonation of an unidentified device in a car” without providing further details.

Background of Illia Kyva

Illia Kyva’s political trajectory unfolds as follows:

Early Career: Born in Poltava, Kyva led the Socialist Party of Ukraine from 2017 to 2019 and was a member of the Opposition Platform — For Life party in Ukraine’s national parliament from 2019 until March 15, 2022.

Shift Towards Pro-Russian Stance: Shortly before Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022, Kyva departed Ukraine and publicly revealed his presence in Russia. In April 2022, he addressed an open letter to Putin, seeking Russian citizenship and political asylum.

Controversial Statements and Actions: Kyva endorsed Russia’s war against Ukraine, urging Ukrainians to surrender. He asserted that Ukraine was under Western enslavement, steeped in Nazism, and lacked a future. He termed Russia’s invasion as a “necessary liberation.”

Expulsion from the Ukrainian Parliament: On March 15, 2022, Kyva faced expulsion from the Ukrainian Parliament due to his pro-Russia stance. In Ukraine, he faced charges of high treason, leading to a 14-year prison sentence in absentia for collusion with Russia.

Relocation to Russia and Role as a Commentator: Following his expulsion, Kyva moved to Russia and assumed the role of a commentator on Russian state television. He consistently criticized Ukrainian investigators and authorities.

Kyva’s political journey and contentious actions have cast him as a highly polarizing figure, culminating in his assassination in Russia.

What charges led to Kyva’s 14-year prison sentence in absentia?

Illia Kyva, a former Ukrainian Parliament member, received a 14-year prison sentence in absentia for high treason. The Lychakivskyi District Court in Lviv, Ukraine, pronounced this verdict on November 13, 2023.

Kyva faced accusations of collaborating with Russia and was convicted of treason due to his pro-Russian activities. These activities included endorsing Russia’s war against Ukraine and publicly disparaging Ukraine and its government. Consequently, he was expelled from the Ukrainian Parliament in March 2022.

Kyva’s contentious political journey, marked by explicit support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and statements against his own country, ultimately culminated in the charges of high treason and the subsequent 14-year prison sentence in absentia.

Has this happened before? 

Since the war’s onset, Ukraine has been accused by Moscow of orchestrating the assassination of several pro-war Russian figures.

In October, Oleg Tsaryov, a former member of Ukraine’s parliament, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Crimea. The list includes Russian nationalist Darya Dugina, who fell victim to a car bombing outside Moscow in August 2022, and the April explosion at a Saint Petersburg cafe that claimed the life of Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky. Another casualty was former submarine commander Stanislav Rzhitsky.

All these individuals found themselves on the extensive Myrotvorets (Peacemaker) database, an unofficial Ukrainian record of those deemed enemies of the nation.

Notably, on Wednesday, Mr. Kyva’s image on the site was replaced with the stark term “Liquidated.”

Updating regularly…

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris - The Digital Bloodhound Alexander isn't your typical investigative journalist. He thrives in the digital world, scouring the web for hidden connections and leaked documents. An expert data analyst and coder, he builds intricate digital trails to expose fraud, cybercrime, and government overreach. Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

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