A Ukrainian military boss has admitted that the country has had a hand in the assassination of pro-Russian figures since the beginning of the invasion.
Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Ukrainian military intelligence, made the revelation while speaking to Ukrainian YouTube channels. It comes after a string of deaths of pro-Russian propagandists since troops moved into Ukraine in February 2022.
Mr Budanov said that Ukraine had "successfully targeted" figures. However, he denied Ukraine's involvement in any act of sabotage in Russian soil.
The admission came as Ukraine looks set to launch a spring counter-offensive. Russia has continued to target many areas of Ukraine, including missile attacks on Kyiv and in the battle for the city of Bakhmut.
Here's everything you need to know about what was said by the military boss.
What did Kyrylo Budanvo say about the assassinations?
Mr Budanov confirmed that pro-Russian propagandists targeted in assassination attempts by Ukraine have been killed when asked about the matter by Ukrainian YouTube channel Different People. He said: “We’ve already successfully targeted quite a few people. There have been well-publicised cases everyone knows about, thanks to the media coverage.”
While he did not confirm which figures had been targeted by Ukraine, there have been many killed or involved in incidents in the past 15 months. This includes the recent attack on pro-Russian writer Zachar Prilepin on 6 May and the death of military blogger Vladen Tatarsky.
Mr Prilepin had written previously about killing Ukrainians “in large numbers”. He suffered two broken legs as a result of a car bombing. Mr Tatarsky, a close ally of the Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, was also killed in an explosion at a St Petersburg cafe in April after he was handed a bust of himself.
Is Ukraine attacking Russian soil?
Mr Budanov also claimed that the recent drone attacks on the Kremlin had taken place “because of Russian aggression”. President Volodymyr Zelensky previously denied claims that Ukraine was directly involved in the attack.
While Mr Budanov did not claim responsibility for the drone incident, which was seen in dramatic footage posted online, he said that a “minority of Russians” have been cooperating with Ukrainian forces. He added that those working with Ukraine were doing so for “patriotic reasons”.
The Kremlin lay the blame at the door of pro-Ukrainian groups for the sabotage of the Nord Stream oil and gas lines earlier this year. Ukraine denied involvement earlier this year, with Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky stating that Ukraine "was absolutely not involved".
Mr Budanov affirmed this position saying that the oil and gas pipeline incident and a recent cargo train derailment in Russia was perpetrated “almost 100% by citizens of the Russian Federation”.