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KYIV — Ukrainian safety brokers have been liable for killing a Ukrainian banker who reportedly served as an important info conduit and negotiator with Russia within the run-up to final yr’s invasion, a prime intelligence official mentioned.

The feedback, made by Common Kyrylo Budanov in an interview with RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, add additional to the thriller surrounding the killing of Denys Kiryeyev, who was reportedly honored for his work 4 months after his demise.

Budanov, who heads Ukraine’s army intelligence company, mentioned “he believes the details” and that Kiryeyev, who was a full-time worker of the company, was killed by the Safety Service of Ukraine, extensively referred to as the SBU. Budanov didn’t say how lengthy Kiryeyev had labored for the company.

The brokers killed Kiryeyev in an SBU automobile as they “performed an operation” in opposition to him, he mentioned.

“It is a indisputable fact that he was killed in that automobile by these operatives,” Budanov, whose company is named the GUR, mentioned in a January 21 telephone interview.

Requested particularly if SBU brokers killed “a Ukrainian hero,” he instructed RFE/RL: “That is completely true.”

Budanov’s feedback got here three days after a Wall Avenue Journal (WSJ) story that examined the work of Kiryeyev, who had been employed for a number of Western banks and had developed ties with highly effective businessmen within the japanese Ukrainian area of Donetsk who had robust connections to Russia.

Kiryeyev’s physique was discovered on a Kyiv sidewalk on March 5, 12 days after Russia launched its invasion.

In keeping with WSJ, Kiryeyev was investigated by the SBU on suspicion of passing info to Russian officers.

The SBU declined to reply questions from RFE/RL relating to Budanov’s assertions. Ukraine’s foremost regulation enforcement company, the State Bureau of Investigation, declined to touch upon Budanov’s assertion that it had opened a felony probe of the killing.

Within the interview, Budanov mentioned that on the day of Kiryeyev’s demise he had been summoned for a gathering with SBU officers. He was accompanied by two GUR bodyguards, Budanov mentioned, which was normal protocol.

On their method to the SBU headquarters, he mentioned, the automobile Kiryeyev and his escorts have been driving in was stopped by armed brokers from the SBU’s tactical unit, referred to as Alfa.

“Roughly 200 meters from the SBU’s foremost constructing, a bus pulled out, that’s, broke into oncoming site visitors,” he mentioned. “Alfa brokers ran out shouting ‘SBU!’ Brokers burst out, saying they have been from the SBU.”

“Kiryeyev instructed everybody to cease,” Budanov mentioned. “Then he was transferred to a minibus that went to not the central constructing however a number of blocks away. Then what occurred is what occurred. His physique fell out of that van. These are the details. Why did not they go to the SBU constructing? Let the investigation reply this query.”

Budanov confirmed that Kiryeyev had participated in high-level talks with Russian officers held in Belarus simply 4 days after the invasion, and he mentioned that the day earlier than his demise Kiryeyev was slated to journey by prepare once more to Belarus for extra talks — at Budanov’s directive.

“What was the aim? I despatched him there. And the primary time and the second time, he needed to get on the prepare proper after he was supposed to go to the SBU,” Budanov mentioned. “The primary job we set for him was to lengthen the [negotiating] course of to be able to purchase time. As a result of Mr. Kiryeyev personally knew two individuals from the negotiation course of who represented the Russian facet.”

In an interview with the Baltic information company Delfi on January 19, Mykhaylo Podolyak, a prime adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has mentioned Kiryeyev was killed resulting from a scarcity of coordination between the SBU and Budanov’s company.

Requested if he agreed with Podolyak’s evaluation, Budanov mentioned: “I imagine that the matter is way deeper. Nonetheless, I’ll preserve my opinion to myself. Let’s consider solely the details.”

In feedback to RFE/RL, Fedir Venislavskiy, a parliamentary lawmaker and member of Zelenskiy’s political faction, urged that within the aftermath of the Russian invasion there had been a number of examples of “pleasant hearth” involving rival Ukrainian safety companies.

“Sadly, such ‘pleasant’ hearth killed individuals from numerous elements of the safety and protection sector,” he mentioned.

One other lawmaker, Roman Kostenko, who serves in a distinct political faction, mentioned the SBU should clarify what precisely occurred and why. And even when Kiryeyev had been a Russian agent, he ought to have been prosecuted in Ukrainian courts.

“We must always not flip into the Russian Federation, the place sentences are handed down someplace on the road or on the curbs,” he instructed RFE/RL.

In July, Zelenskiy fired his childhood buddy and head of the SBU, Ivan Bakanov. The Ukrainian chief additionally sacked dozens of generals and different prime officers within the SBU for his or her alleged function in permitting the Russian invasion to go ahead.

Zelenskiy additionally gave a posthumous honor to Kiryeyev for “distinctive responsibility in protection of state sovereignty and state safety,” in line with WSJ, and was buried with army honors in a Kyiv cemetery.

RFE/RL was unable to substantiate Kiryeyev’s posthumous honor.

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