The New York Times reported on Wednesday that US intelligence agencies believe parts of the Ukrainian government were behind the slaying of Darya Dugina, the daughter of the prominent Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin.
Dugina, who was a political scientist and journalist, was killed by a car bomb outside of Moscow back in August while driving a car owned by her father, who is suspected to have been the ultimate target of the blast. The Times report said that US officials “admonished” Ukrainian officials over the killing and that the US didn’t take part in the assassination.
The US officials said they fear Ukraine’s covert operations inside Russia could escalate the war in Ukraine to a wider conflict. But Dugina’s killing hasn’t changed Washington’s policy as the report said the US concerns had “not prompted any known changes in the provision of intelligence, military and diplomatic support to Mr. Zelensky’s government or to Ukraine’s security services.”
Russia has blamed Ukraine’s intelligence services for the killing and named two Ukrainian suspects. For their part, the Ukrainian government has denied any role in the murder, a position that Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak reiterated to the Times.
Like her father, Dugina supported Russia’s war in Ukraine and she was placed on the infamous Ukrainian website Myrotvorets, known as the Ukrainian “kill list.” Since her death, Dugina has been listed as “liquidated.” Thousands of people are listed on the site as “enemies of Ukraine,” including prominent Westerners.
Pope Francis commented on Dugina after her killing, describing her as an innocent victim of the war, which drew backlash from Ukraine. “I think of that poor girl blown up by a bomb under the seat of her car in Moscow,” the pope said. “Innocents pay the price of war.”
The pope’s comments drew a rebuke from Ukraine’s envoy to the Vatican and the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. “I will say frankly that the Ukrainian heart is torn by the pope’s words. It was unfair,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said after summoning Pope Francis’ envoy to Ukraine.