Budanov praises slain negotiator who helped Ukraine defend Kyiv from Russian forces – WSJ

19 January, 07:40 PM
Gostomel, April 3, 2022 (Photo:Ministry of Defense of Ukraine / Facebook)

Gostomel, April 3, 2022 (Photo:Ministry of Defense of Ukraine / Facebook)

A Ukrainian financier and peace negotiator who worked for Ukrainian intelligence was not a double agent as alleged, but was in fact key to the successful defense of Kyiv in the early days of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it has been reported in U.S. media.

Denys Kireyev, who was recruited by the Ministry of Defense’s Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR), informed the Ukrainian authorities of the date of a full-scale Russian invasion and the key point of the attack on Kyiv – the airport in Gostomel, U.S. wallpaper the Wall Street Journal reported on Jan. 18 with reference to the HUR chief Kyrylo Budanov.

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“If it wasn’t for Mr. Kireyev, most likely, Kyiv would have been captured,” Budanov told WSJ journalists.

Kireyev died in mysterious circumstances in Hostomel on March 5, as Russian forces struggled to advance on the Ukrainian capital. Later, it was suggested he had been working as a double agent for the Russians. However, the HUR issued a statement saying that Kireyev had died in the line of duty on “a special mission.”

Kireyev also took part in peace negotiations on Feb. 28 in Gomel, Belarus, in the early stages of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Budanov said when in the fall of 2021 the U.S. military and intelligence began to warn Ukraine about the threat of a major war with the Russian Federation, Kireyev learned from his sources that Moscow was indeed preparing for an invasion, and that he was the first in Ukraine to raise the alarm.

In the afternoon of Feb. 23, Kireyev gave General Budanov fresh intelligence: Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had given the order for the invasion planned for the morning of Feb. 24.

According to the head of the HUR, Kireyev knew not only the date, but also the key point of the attack — the airport in Gostomel. Russia intended to use it to transfer troops and equipment to assault Kyiv. Around 8:00 a.m. on Feb. 24, Russian helicopters actually tried to land an amphibious assault at Antonov Airport in Gostomel.

It was Kireyev’s data that gave Ukraine several precious hours to redeploy troops to counter the Russian offensive, said Budanov. After a fierce battle with Russian paratroopers, the airport was damaged and unusable for the invasion forces.

On June 3, the late Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Denys Monastyrskyi, stated that at the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, the occupiers had secret information about the placement of defense fortifications and units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Gostomel.

He claimed that this is “the problem of spies, saboteurs who worked at that time, and who contributed to the fact that in the first minutes the enemy had such certain successes.”

After the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, Hostomel became the target of the Russian army from the first days. The city was shelled and bombed from the air, and a landing force tried to land at the local Antonov airport.

As a result of the hostilities, the city was heavily destroyed, the occupiers also destroyed the Ukrainian Mriya heavy transport plane at the airport.

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