‘Traitor’ Ukrainian politician who switched to help Putin ‘is blasted to death with a shotgun’ 


A ‘traitor’ Ukrainian politician who switched sides to back Vladimir Putin when he ordered the invasion of Ukraine is said to have been blasted to death with a shotgun while his wife was fatally stabbed at their home in the occupied Kherson region.

Oleksiy Kovalyov, 33, a senior official in charge of agriculture in the Moscow-appointed military-civil administration in Kherson, was killed with a pump action shotgun at his residence in the city of Hola Prystan on Sunday.

His wife, 38, was also stabbed and her throat slit in the attack before she died in hospital, local media report. 

Russian officials said they would probe the attack, the latest in a series of apparent assassinations of Moscow-backed officials in occupied areas.

Oleksiy Kovalyov, 33, (centre) a senior official in charge of agriculture in the Moscow-appointed military-civil administration in Kherson, was killed with a pump action shotgun at his residence in the city of Hola Prystan on Sunday

Russian officials said they would probe the attack, the latest in a series of apparent assassinations of Moscow-backed officials in occupied areas. Pictured: Kovalyov (left) at a friend's wedding party

Russian officials said they would probe the attack, the latest in a series of apparent assassinations of Moscow-backed officials in occupied areas. Pictured: Kovalyov (left) at a friend’s wedding party 

The couple are believed to have been assassinated by a hit squad, local media reports.

After an earlier failed assassination bid, Kovalyov had defiantly told his Ukrainian enemies: ‘You won’t stop me.’

Ukrainian official Serhiy Khlan announced: ‘Former MP and traitor Oleksiy Kovalyov has been killed.’

A Telegram channel run by Ukrainian journalist Andrei Tsaplienko confirmed: ‘The traitor, collaborator and former People’s Deputy Oleksiy Kovalyov was shot dead in his own house.

‘The occupiers have begun intensive searches and document checks. Be careful, Ukrainians.’

Kovalyov (left) is said to have been blasted to death with a shotgun while his wife was fatally stabbed at their home in the occupied Kherson region

Kovalyov (left) is said to have been blasted to death with a shotgun while his wife was fatally stabbed at their home in the occupied Kherson region

The assassination of the official and his partner is the latest killing of a number of Ukrainians who have taken administrative or police positions under the occupying Putin forces.   

Russian-installed officials said that a deputy chief of traffic police in the southern Ukrainian city of Berdyansk died in hospital on Friday after being wounded in a bomb blast.

Meanwhile, Askyar Laishev, who joined the Moscow-backed Luhansk People’s Republic as head of intelligence in 2014, was assassinated in car bombing in the war-torn city of Donbas on August 11.

Striking surveillance footage shows the dramatic moment Laishav’s car was blown up as he drove through the city.

Laishev, who had worked for Ukraine’s internal security service (SBU) before switching sides, managed to escape from the car after the explosion but died days later in hospital. 

Askyar Laishev defected to Russia in 2014

He was slain by resistance fighters this month

Askyar Laishev (left) defected to Russia in 2014. He was slain by resistance fighters this month

It follows the similar killing of Putin official Ivan Sushko in Zaporizhzhia last week.

Sushko, 40, was killed on August 24 in a car bombing, days after the daughter of a prominent Russian ultranationalist died in similar fashion at the weekend.

Images of the Sushko’s car taken after the blast showed the driver’s side door crumpled with all the windows blown out and debris strewn across the road. 

Sushko was installed as head of the Mykhailivka ‘military-civilian administration’ by occupying Russian forces in May, in the region where Europe’s largest nuclear plant is under siege. 

Sushko, 40, was killed on August 24 in a car bombing, days after the daughter of a prominent Russian ultranationalist died in similar fashion at the weekend.

Sushko, 40, was killed on August 24 in a car bombing, days after the daughter of a prominent Russian ultranationalist died in similar fashion at the weekend.

Ukrainian officials have not yet commented on the bombing that killed Shusko, but President Volodymyr Zelensky has strongly denied his agents carried out the assassination of Darya Dugina, 29, the daughter of ‘Putin’s Rasputin’ last week. 

Russia says Dugina, daughter of ultranationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin – a man described as the brains behind Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – died a ‘martyr’ when she was killed in a car bombing in Moscow. 

Meanwhile, the mayor of the regional capital Kherson city, Vladimir Saldo, was in a coma in a Moscow hospital after suspected poisoning on August 3. 

Last month Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy removed his spy chief and state prosecutor general, citing dozens of cases of collaboration with Russia by officials in their agencies.

Meanwhile, Kovalyov was appointed deputy chairman for agriculture in the key grain region. He had switched sides in April.

After a car bombing, Kovalyov blamed the SBU, the Ukrainian secret service, and said defiantly in a video: 'I am alive, I am healthy. I am aiming to be back to work'

After a car bombing, Kovalyov blamed the SBU, the Ukrainian secret service, and said defiantly in a video: ‘I am alive, I am healthy. I am aiming to be back to work’

An earlier attempt on the life of Kovalyov – who before the war was an MP with the ruling Servant of the People party in Kyiv – had failed, prompting a message from his hospital bed in June.

After a car bombing, he blamed the SBU, the Ukrainian secret service, and said defiantly in a video: ‘I am alive, I am healthy. I am aiming to be back to work on Monday.

‘They didn’t scare me and I am aiming to keep working. To be with my people and work on my constituency until my duties expire in 2023.

‘To my enemies and to those who planned this sabotage – you won’t stop me.’

Some reports say the slain politician was found by his mother who called emergency services. Doctors were unable to save his wife.

Russian forces seized Kherson, a town of 280,000 inhabitants, on March 3.

It was the first major city to fall following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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