Source: SBU assassinates Russian-linked former lawmaker Kyva in Moscow
The pro-Russian former lawmaker, Illia Kyva, was found dead in Moscow on December 6. According to a source in Ukrainian law enforcement cited by the Kyiv Independent, Kyva's death is believed to be the result of a special operation conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).
Illia Kyva was a controversial figure in Ukrainian politics, openly supporting Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. He had been living in hiding in Russia, having left Ukraine shortly before the invasion began on February 24, 2022. Kyva was elected to parliament in 2019 on the ticket of the now-banned pro-Russian Opposition Platform – For Life party, which was led by Kremlin-linked oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk.
After fleeing to Russia, Kyva was expelled from the Ukrainian parliament in March 2022, and he faced charges of high treason for collaborating with Russia. On November 13, 2022, he was sentenced in absentia to 14 years in prison by Ukrainian authorities.
Kyva's provocative statements continued even while in Russia. In April 2022, he posted on Telegram suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin should use a "pre-emptive strike" on Ukraine. Some interpreted this statement as an implicit encouragement to use nuclear weapons or other forms of mass destruction.
The circumstances surrounding Kyva's death raise questions about the complexities and tensions between Russia and Ukraine, both in terms of political dynamics and security concerns.
Nepal uncovers smuggling ring for Russian army recruitment
The Nepali police have detained 10 individuals suspected of charging local youths exorbitant rates for travel visas to Russia and subsequently sending them to join the Russian military, as reported by Reuters on December 6. The suspects allegedly charged unemployed youths up to $9,000 to travel on tourist visas to Russia via the United Arab Emirates, and then facilitated their illegal recruitment into the Russian army.
This development comes after Nepal urged the Russian government on December 5 to cease recruiting Nepalese citizens into its army. There have been increasing reports of Nepalese individuals, often referred to as mercenaries, being killed while fighting in Ukraine.
According to Kathmandu District Police chief Bhupendra Khatri, the police detentions are part of a broader case involving human smuggling and organized crime. The authorities are reportedly discussing the case with government lawyers and plan to bring the suspects to court.
Nepal has confirmed the deaths of at least six Nepali nationals who were serving in the Russian army in Ukraine. While the government lacks precise data on how many of its citizens are currently fighting for Russia, Nepalese Ambassador to Moscow Milan Raj Tuladhar stated that up to 200 Nepali nationals have served in the Russian army. The ambassador has urged the Russian government to discourage the entry and recruitment of Nepali nationals.
This case highlights concerns about human trafficking and recruitment practices, with similar issues reported in other countries like Cuba. It also reflects broader geopolitical dynamics, with allegations that Russia is attempting to recruit foreigners and migrant workers to bolster its forces without officially announcing a mobilization drive.
Slovak truckers threaten to completely block crossing on Ukrainian border
The Slovak truckers union UNAS has announced its intention to initiate a total blockade of the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke border crossing between Slovakia and Ukraine if their demands regarding the EU's liberalization of the permit system for Ukrainian truckers are not addressed. The president of UNAS, Stanislav Skala, expressed understanding that finding a solution might not be easy but deemed it unacceptable for the current situation to persist.
Skala expressed gratitude to Slovak Transport Minister Jozef Raz for addressing the issue with the EU's Transport, Telecommunications, and Energy Council in Brussels on December 4. UNAS representatives are scheduled to meet with Minister Raz on December 7 to discuss their demands further.
This development follows the suspension of a previous blockade by Slovak truckers at the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke border crossing on December 4, as reported by Ukrainian Deputy Infrastructure Minister Serhii Derkach.
The situation at the Polish-Ukrainian border remains complex, with Polish protesters having blocked four crossings, causing significant disruptions. Talks between Kyiv and Warsaw on December 1 yielded some results, including an agreement to open the Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv checkpoint for empty trucks. Other measures agreed upon include creating separate electronic passes for empty vehicles at specific crossing points and launching a pilot electronic queueing system.
While Poland desires a return to the permit system, one of the key demands of Polish protesters, Deputy Infrastructure Minister Derkach noted that the European Commission does not plan changes and is prepared to defend the transport visa-free regime with Ukraine. The ongoing negotiations underscore the challenges in finding a resolution that satisfies all parties involved.
Air defense downed 41 Russian drones overnight
Ukraine's air defense forces reported downing 41 out of 48 Russian drones overnight on December 6, according to a statement by the Air Force on Telegram. Russian drones were detected over various Ukrainian oblasts, including Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv, and Kherson.
The statement highlighted that Moscow has been consistently targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure using relatively inexpensive Iranian-made Shahed UAVs. In a previous attack on November 25, more than 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones were launched at Kyiv, with nearly all of them being successfully intercepted and shot down. The Air Force noted that Russia launched these drones from locations in Kursk Oblast and Primorsko-Akhtarsk, a Russian port town in Krasnodar Krai.
The November 25 attack resulted in at least two people being injured, and several buildings, both residential and non-residential, were damaged across Kyiv. President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned these drone strikes as acts of "willful terror" and expressed Ukraine's commitment to rallying international support in defense against Russian actions. The use of drones in military operations has become a notable aspect of the ongoing conflict, and Ukraine's air defense efforts underscore the challenges posed by such tactics.