MP Ilya Kiva attends a Verkhovna Rada parliamentary session in Kiev, Ukraine in 2019 (Photo: NurPhoto)

A former Ukrainian politician turned Kremlin propagandist was murdered near Moscow just hours after hanging a photo of Volodymyr Zelensky as a decoration around his neck from a Christmas tree.

Ilya Kiva, a longtime opponent of the Ukrainian president, was accused of treason by his own government after supporting the invasion and fleeing to Russia, where he was granted citizenship and political asylum.

When Russian tanks invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, he wrote on social media that “the Ukrainian people need liberation” and that “Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians are one people.”

His body was discovered today in a pool of blood in the city of Odintsovo, where he lived in exile, a Russian Telegram channel reported.

Investigators said he had been shot, but no other details about Kiva’s death were released.

However, sources cited by Ukrainian media claimed that he was killed on orders directly from his previous workplace.

“Such a fate will also befall other traitors of Ukraine,” Ukrainian Military Intelligence (HUR) spokesman Andrii Yusov said shortly after the reports.

If it turns out to be true, the murder shows that Ukraine still has hidden assets deep within Russia.

Hours before the incident, pre-war Vladimir Putin shared the hateful photo on his Telegram channel.

He wrote: “Zelensky’s only option is to escape to England, but they will free him from there if it benefits the crown, or die if the Kremlin needs it. There are many examples of this.”

“Following today’s failure of the US Congress to provide financial support, the countdown begins to Zelensky’s removal from office in Ukraine, and he has not yet received 100 percent security guarantees.

“Right now, many countries are ready to receive him and his family and guarantee the safety of his life, but it is impossible to be sure that they will not be extradited later.”

“The logical end of the bastard who drowned people in blood.”

In 2019, Kiva was unsuccessful as a presidential candidate and was elected a member of the now banned pro-Russian opposition party Platform for Life, which was led at the time by Kremlin-linked oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk.

He was eventually expelled from parliament in March 2022 after fleeing to Spain and then Russia.

Kiva was also sentenced in absentia by a Ukrainian court to 14 years in prison for, among other things, treason and incitement to violence.