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Body of former Ukrainian MP Illia Kyva found in Moscow Region, SBU suspected to be behind killing

The body of former Verkhovna Rada MP Illia Kyva has been found in the Moscow region, according to a report by the Russian channel REN TV citing sources with knowledge of the matter. The circumstances and cause of Kyva’s death are not named in the report.

According to the Telegram channel Emergency Call 112 (“Ekstrenny vyzov 112”), the body was found in Odintsovo near Moscow.

Another Telegram channel, Mash, reported that Kyva’s body was found lying in the snow in the park area of the Velich Country Club in the village of Suponevo. According to the report, there was a slash wound on Kyva’s right temple and a hematoma on the left side of his face.

The murder of the former Verkhovna Rada MP was likely carried out by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), according to reports from Ukrainian publications Suspilne, Hromadske and Ukrainska Pravda, citing SBU sources. According to the sources, Kyva was killed with small arms fire. The SBU has not yet officially announced its involvement in Kyva’s murder.

Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, HUR, later confirmed Kyva’s death. Authorities and law enforcement agencies in the Moscow Region are currently on high alert after being tasked with finding and detaining Kyva’s killer.

On November 13, a Ukrainian court sentenced Kyva to 14 years in prison for treason. Kyva was in Russia at the time of the verdict, and was placed on an international wanted list. He left Ukraine shortly before the Russian invasion and expressed support for Russia after the invasion began. He proposed uniting Ukraine and Russia and called Vladimir Putin a “great ruler.” Hours before the invasion, Kyva said that “the Ukrainian people need liberation” and added that “Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Russians are one people.”

Prior to his murder, Kyva posted the following message on Telegram, accompanied by an image of Volodymyr Zelensky lynched on a Christmas tree:

“Zelensky better commit suicide now, as losers have always done, to take their problems with them and be done with it. But he’s too cowardly and self-obsessed to do that.”

In March 2022, the Verkhovna Rada stripped Kyva of his parliamentary mandate, with the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s office proceeding to investigate him on charges of treason.

Before joining the pro-Russian Opposition Platform — For Life party, Kyva was a communist, who was at one point nominated to run for president from Ukraine’s Socialist Party. In 2014-2015, he took part in the anti-terrorist operation in Donetsk and Luhansk and spoke out for the forced Ukrainianization of Donbas.

He also headed one of the regional branches of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector, was an adviser to former Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, and headed the department for countering drug-related crime of the National Police of Ukraine.

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