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Ukraine says that Russian propagandists were assassinated

By Sarah May
|
May 21, 2023

In a public acknowledgement likely to infuriate top officials in Moscow, the man in charge of the military intelligence service in Ukraine has confirmed that a number of Russian pro-war propagandists have been assassinated on orders from Kyiv since the conflict between the two countries began last years, as the Daily Mail reports.

The admission came from Major-General Kyrylo Budanov, who suggested that many were already aware of some of the killings that have occurred inside Russia, largely due to plentiful media attention surrounding the incidents.

Assassinations Acknowledged

Speaking to Ukrainian YouTube channel Rizni Lyudi, as Newsweek notes, Budanov boasted, “We've already successfully targeted quite a few people.”

“There have been well-publicized cases everyone knows about, thanks to the media coverage,” he added.

Though Budanov did not get specific in terms of the identities of those targeted by Ukraine, a significant number of individuals who have made names for themselves promoting Kremlin talking points have sustained injuries or even been killed since the war commenced.

During the same interview, Budanov opined that while the “Russian army's potential for advancing is completely depleted,” he believes it “still has a significant defensive potential.”

Prominent Figures Targeted

Some of the individuals who may have been the targets of the plots acknowledged by Budanov include 47-year-old Zahar Prilepin, a staunchly pro-Kremlin voice who suffered injuries in a car bombing, as the Mail noted.

The pro-war commentator's vehicle exploded while in the Nizhny Novgorod region of the country, and while he ultimately survived the attack, his driver was not so lucky.

On April 2, military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, who maintained close connections to Yevgeny Prigozhin of the Wagner mercenary force, died when a statue handed to him during a public address in St. Petersburg exploded.

Last August, the death of Darya Dugina in another car bombing also made headlines, though many believed that it was her father – philosopher Alexander Dugin – who was the true target, given his close ties to Putin, according to the Mail.

“Liquidation” Threatened

Showing no hesitation or remorse for the targeted killings of so-called Russian propagandists, Budanov said in an interview with another Ukrainian YouTube channel known as ISLND TV that those involved in pro-Kremlin activities can expect the worst.

“Outright scum will eventually be punished in any country in the world,” Budanov stated.

“Such people will receive a well-deserved punishment, and the appropriate punishment can only be liquidation, and I will implement it,” he continued.

Budanov concluded by declaring, “I do not consider anything else. It is my personal opinion, I stick to it, and I will implement it,” as Newsweek further noted.

Russian Collaborators Claimed

In yet another interview, this time with Ukrainian YouTube channel Different People, Budanov asserted that recent sabotage of infrastructure and transportation capabilities within Russian territory was done “almost 100 per cent by citizens of the Russian Federation,” according to the Mail.

He supplemented that claim by telling ISLND TV that he had “a minority of Russians cooperating” with the Ukrainian military intelligence agency, and that they had “patriotic reasons for doing so,” namely, that they were “ready to change Russia.”

Even so, fighting in the hotly contested city of Bakhmut has been a focus of both parties to war in recent weeks, and it took a serious turn on Saturday, when Prigozhin claimed that his Wagner troops succeeded in fully taking the city, as Reuters reports.

Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military denied those claims, however, stating that its units are continuing to battle for control of the town, the winner of which would be able to claim a hugely symbolic victory that has proven elusive for months.