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Source: SBU assassinates Russian-linked former lawmaker Kyva outside Moscow

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 6, 2023 6:10 PM 3 min read
Then lawmaker Illia Kyva, member of the now banned pro-Russian party Opposition Platform - For Life, speaks during a rally in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Aleksandr Gusev/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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A pro-Russian former lawmaker, Illia Kyva, who was charged with treason in Ukraine was assassinated in Moscow Oblast on Dec. 6. in a special operation conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine, according to the Kyiv Independent's source in law enforcement.

The source said that Kyva was killed with small arms.

Kyva was an infamous political figure in Ukraine who had openly supported Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine and was living in hiding in Russia. He left Ukraine shortly before Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

Kyva wrote an open letter to Putin in April 2022, appealing for Russian citizenship and political asylum.

"Such a fate will befall other traitors of Ukraine,” Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) spokesperson Andrii Yusov said on air shortly after the news broke.

Kyva was elected to parliament in 2019 on the ticket of the now-banned pro-Russian Opposition Platform – For Life party, then led by Kremlin-linked oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk.

He was expelled from parliament in March 2022 after he fled to Russia. In Ukraine, Kyva was charged with high treason for colluding with Russia. On Nov. 13, he was sentenced in absentia to 14 years.

Kyva wrote a post on Telegram in April 2022, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin should use a "pre-emptive strike" on Ukraine. Some interpreted the post as an implicit encouragement to utilize nuclear weapons or other forms of mass destruction.

Born in Poltava, Kyva’s name became associated with a long list of scandals, making him a deeply unpopular political figure in Ukraine.

He received just 6,000 votes during his 2019 attempt to run for president, representing the Socialist Party of Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelensky received over 5.7 million votes.

Months later, however, he managed to gain a seat in parliament by running as a member of the pro-Russian Opposition Platform - For Life party.

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Alongside being an lawmaker in a party controlled by Kremlin-linked Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, Kyva then became a TV show host on a Medvedchuk-owned television channel.

When he was present in parliament, he was involved in several fist fights with fellow lawmakers, published a seemingly forged PhD dissertation, and called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "great ruler."

His persona in recent years marked a shift from just five years earlier. In 2014, Kyva was associated with far-right groups and linked to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who belonged to the nationalist-conservative political party People’s Front.

Kyva headed the regional branch of the nationalist organization Right Sector in eastern Ukraine, and became a representative to Dmytro Yarosh, head of the Right Sector when Yarosh unsuccessfully ran for president in 2014.

In his final Telegram post, published on the morning of Dec. 6, Kyva wrote that he hoped Zelensky would commit suicide, "in order to take all the problems with him."

While the SBU has not officially commented on his death, Russia's Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into the murder.

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