Ukraine's Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate announced a reward of $100,000 on Saturday for the capture of Igor "Strelkov" Girkin.
Girkin is a former Russian FSB agent and a key figure in Russia’s initial occupation of Ukraine in 2014, when he led Kremlin-backed separatists to seize Slovyansk, in the Donetsk Oblast.
A former Russian intelligence officer who once boasted he had “pulled the trigger of war” in Ukraine, Girkin served as the leader of the Kremlin’s forces in Slovyansk in the first months of the 2014 conflict. Going by the pseudonym Igor Strelkov (which means “shooter” in Russian).
Girkin was also declared internationally wanted by the Netherlands for participating in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine, which killed 283 people.
The Security Service of Ukraine and the General Prosecutor's Office have filed a number of cases against Girkin for terrorist activities, torture, murder and violation of state sovereignty.
Documents found in Girkin’s Slovyansk office after he fled revealed that he had ordered the executions by firing squad of at least three people in Donetsk following hastened military trials. Girkin later admitted to sentencing three more men to death and killing one of them himself.
A staunch critic of Putin
In August 2014, he was recalled to Moscow, where he appeared on nationalist radio programs and kept a relatively low profile until reappearing after Russia's invasion in February as a prominent military blogger.
He has recently emerged as a critic of Moscow’s poor battlefield performance, advocating escalation. “The war in Ukraine will continue until the complete defeat of Russia,” Girkin wrote on Telegram in early September. “We have already lost, the rest is just a matter of time.”
"The war in Ukraine will continue until the complete defeat of Russia."Igor Girkin