Since Russia invaded Ukraine, there have been many killings in occupied areas. Hundreds linked to the Ukrainian government or pro-western politicians died. Over 1,000 died under mysterious circumstances.
Ukraine’s assassination squads
Even Ukraine’s Valentin Nalivaychenko worries that the assassination squads went too far. Nalivaychenko believes that while some killings are justified. Others aim to impress the president.
spyOne such case is the mysterious death of journalist Heorhiy Sheremet. Who ran Charter 97, an organization supporting freedom of expression and the rule of law. Authorities called it suicide, but colleagues and investigators doubt that.
Journalist Aleh Byabenin was also found dead in his country house near Minsk. It was ruled a suicide. However, it was questioned by the Committee to Protect Journalists and Amnesty International.
Recently, over two dozen alleged hitmen were arrested in western Ukraine. They tried to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and infiltrate the Ukrainian government. Kyiv claims they were under the command of a Russian secret service agent.
Operating in Ukraine and Slovakia. While it’s uncertain if these claims are true. There’s evidence that Girkin’s henchmen were involved in the unexplained deaths of local leaders.
Since Russia took control of occupied territory. Ramzan Kadyrov warned that the Kremlin targets his republic. He vows to bring Russian war criminals to justice.
RFE/RL used documents from Girkin’s office and research to identify seven henchmen. These men executed Oleksiy Pichko and Dmytro Lukyanov for opposing Moscow’s occupation. The evidence sheds light on their roles in these killings.