Denis Kireev, who died during SBU detention, suspected of treason, warned Ukrainian intelligence about Putin’s plans.
Ukrainian banker Denis Kireev, who died during an SBU arrest in March 2022, warned Ukrainian intelligence about the Kremlin’s plans to occupy Kyiv and even indicated the direction of the invasion. This is stated in the article Russian spy or Ukrainian hero?published on Wednesday, January 18, by The Wall Street Journal.
Kirill Budanov, the head of Ukrainian intelligence, told reporters that 45-year-old Kireev gave GUR information from his Russian sources that helped protect the Ukrainian capital.
“If not for Mr. Kireev, probably, Kyiv would have been taken,” Budanov was quoted as saying.
In particular, Kireev told him on February 23 that Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine. In addition, he knows the main target of the attack. Kireev indicated that the Russians could reach the airport in Gostomel, and this, according to the head of the GUR, gave Ukraine some valuable time to deploy troops to counter the Russian offensive.
After Russia’s unsuccessful attack on Gostomel, Ukraine and the Russian Federation agreed to hold talks with Belarus, the article said. Budanov invited Kireev to join them, as he was familiar with two members of the Russian delegation.
According to him, Kireev, who for many years has been in contact with the Russian military and officials, knew that it was dangerous for him to appear as part of the Ukrainian delegation, and at first did not want to participate in the negotiations, but eventually agreed.
“After he appeared there, it became clear to everyone that he was connected to the special services (Ukrainian – ed.). Unfortunately, the situation was critical at that time, and we had to take risks,” said Budanov.
When Russia and Ukraine agreed to a second round of talks scheduled for March 3, Budanov again insisted that Kireev take part with them. The banker knew he could be in danger. Accompanied by security guards and military intelligence agents, he arrived at the Kyiv train station and informed the guards that he might be arrested and asked them not to interfere.
And so it happened, he was detained by SBU agents, who demanded that Kireev’s guards put down their weapons. The banker was arrested and taken away, and an hour and a half later was found dead.
According to the WSJ, SBU counterintelligence chief Oleksandr Poklad and Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation, which deals with such killings, declined to comment on the situation.
Suspicions of “infidelity”
After the banker’s murder, Ukrainian media reported that the SBU “has clear evidence of Kireev’s treason, including phone conversations.” And the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine said that Kireev “died during the performance of a special task.” President Volodymyr Zelensky signed documents awarding him a posthumous medal for “an extraordinary contribution to the defense of state sovereignty and state security” and buried Kireev as a hero.
Last summer, the head of state fired the head of the SBU Ivan Bakanov, Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova, and also brought dozens of generals to justice for “improper performance of official duties.”
Killed due to “poor coordination”
Mikhail Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Office of the President, said that the killing of Kireev was due to the “poor coordination” of the Ukrainian special services at the beginning of the war.
“He was associated with the main intelligence department, and his killing was due to the fact that there was no unified coordination between the power structures,” said Podolyak in an interview with Latvian Delfi.
The “claims” against Kireev simply did not have time to settle in a “dialogue format,” he added.
According to the adviser to the head of the Office of the President, Russia tried to “put Kireev as its agent,” but he was not connected to the enemy, but worked for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
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I am David Wyatt, a professional writer and journalist for Buna Times. I specialize in the world section of news coverage, where I bring to light stories and issues that affect us globally. As a graduate of Journalism, I have always had the passion to spread knowledge through writing.