UN demands investigation into death of Ukrainian negotiator

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The sudden death of a negotiator dubbed a “traitor” by the Ukrainian media requires “full investigation,” the UN has said

A controversy around the death of an alleged member of the Ukrainian delegation for peace talks with Russia, Denis Kireev, has piqued the interest of the United Nations. “This case should be investigated in full,” Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, told journalists on Monday.

The UN has not received any information on this case, Dujarric added, when answering a journalist’s question about whether the killing of the man could affect the peace talks between the two neighbors.

 On Sunday, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry confirmed Kireev’s death while providing very few details and only saying that the man was among three of its agents killed in the line of duty. The statement has caused some confusion since Ukraine’s own media branded Kireev a “traitor” not long before that, as they have claimed he was killed by the Ukrainian domestic security service, the SBU, which reportedly had “clear” evidence the man was a spy.

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FILE PHOTO: Russian-Ukrainian peace talks in Belarus, March 3, 2022. © BelTA/Sputnik
Ukraine appears to confirm death of negotiator dubbed ‘traitor’ by media 

 Kireev’s status as a negotiator at the peace talks is also unclear. The Ukrainian media have claimed he was filmed sitting alongside other negotiators at the table with the Russians in Belarus, although his name was not on the official Ukrainian delegation’s list. Kireev has also been described as a former financier, who previously occupied a high-level position at the State Savings Bank of Ukraine.

 The developments come amid the continued military conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Moscow launched a military “operation” on February 24 to protect the people of the two Donbass republics it had recently recognized and “demilitarize” Ukraine. Kiev branded the move an “unprovoked” invasion.

 Four days into the conflict, the two sides first held peace talks in Belarus. On Monday, the third round of the talks was held, but did not bring any major breakthroughs.

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