Sudden death of negotiator branded a ‘traitor’ by Ukrainian media requires ‘full investigation’, says UN
A controversy over the death of an alleged member of the Ukrainian delegation for the peace talks with Russia, Denis Kireev, has piqued the interest of the United Nations. “This matter should be thoroughly investigated,” Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, told reporters on Monday.
The UN has not received any information about the case, Dujarric added, responding to a reporter’s question about whether the man’s killing could affect peace talks between the two neighbors.
On Sunday, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry confirmed Kireev’s death while providing very few details and saying only that the man was among three of its officers killed in the line of duty. The statement has caused confusion since Ukraine’s own media branded Kireev a “traitor” shortly before, as they claimed he was killed by Ukraine’s internal security service, the SBU, who allegedly “clear” proof that the man was a spy.
Kireev’s status as a negotiator in the peace talks is also unclear. Ukrainian media claimed he was filmed sitting alongside other negotiators at the table with the Russians in Belarus, although his name was not on the official list of the Ukrainian delegation. Kireev was also described as a former financier, who previously held a senior position at the State Savings Bank of Ukraine.
The developments come amid the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Moscow has launched an army “transaction” on February 24 to protect the inhabitants of the two Donbass republics which he had recently recognized and “demilitarize” Ukraine. Kyiv called the move a “without provocation” invasion.
Four days into the conflict, the two sides first held peace talks in Belarus. On Monday, the third round of talks took place, but did not bring any major breakthrough.
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