Ukraine-Russia negotiator killed – reports

A participant in the first round of peace talks was reportedly killed during an arrest in Kiev

Sources in Ukraine have claimed that a member of the delegation Kiev sent to engage in talks with Moscow earlier this week was killed on Saturday.

The first claim about the death of Denis Kireev came from Aleksandr Dubinsky, a controversial MP and journalist. In a post on social media, he claimed Kireev had been killed by agents of the SBU, the Ukrainian security service, during an attempt to arrest him.

The assertion was later confirmed by two media outlets, Ukraina.ua and Obozrevatel, which both cited their own anonymous sources. The former published a partially blurred photo of what it claimed to be the body of the man. The image showed someone lying on the sidewalk face-up with what appeared to be blood on his face and pooling under the head. No comments by Ukrainian officials were available as of 4 pm local time on Saturday.

An even more dramatic description of what had allegedly happened was published by Anatoly Sharij, a Ukrainian politician and journalist. He claimed Kireev “was executed by a shot in the head” near a courthouse in Kiev.

Kireev, who had a background in banking, was photographed sitting at the far right of the negotiating table alongside other Ukrainian officials during the first round of peace talks with Russia on Monday. For some reason, the official list of six representatives that Kiev released to the media did not include his name, so his status during the talks remains unclear.

Last month, Ukrainian TV’s Channel 5 claimed Kireev had been investigated by the SBU for purported connections with Russian intelligence services since at least 2020. It alleged the investigation had been called off because he had personal connections in the agency.

It remains unclear if the report about Kireev aired on the channel, which is owned by former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, was part of a negative publicity campaign conducted against him, however.

The government hailed him a hero hours after MPs had earlier claimed he had committed “treason” and was executed by the Ukrainian intelligence agency.

Both Russian and Ukrainian sources made claims about his alleged spying activities including that he may have been working for both sides.

Mr Kireev’s name was not on the list of Ukraine’s official delegation to peace talks with Russia last week.

However he was pictured sitting on the Ukrainian side of the negotiating table at the first round of talks on February 28.

His exact role in the summit was unclear.

Yesterday gory photographs posted online showed Mr Kireev dead in a pool of blood.

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