Konstantin Kilimnik is a former longtime employee of Paul Manafort with alleged ties to Russian intelligence.
Kilimnik studied at Russia’s Military University for Foreign Languages, which is rumored to be a training ground for Russian intelligence. He has denied rumors of his alleged connections to Russian intelligence agencies. Kilimnik is a dual Russian-Ukrainian citizen who previously served as a Russian military translator before working in Moscow for the International Republican Institute in the early 2000s. He began working for Manafort in 2005, aiding Manafort’s pro-Yanukovych work on behalf of Rinat Akhmetov. Kilimnik subsequently “spent 90 percent of his time inside [Yanukovych’s] presidential administration, where he assisted Manafort.” Like Manafort, Kilimnik denied reports that Manafort received illicit funds from Yanukovych’s party. Kilimnik was also involved in the failed Black Sea Cable deal, which resulted in Manafort’s alleged $19-million debt to Oleg Deripaska. Although Kilimnik has not been on Manafort’s payroll since 2014, the two have kept in close touch. During the 2016 election, Kilimnik briefed Manafort on the situation in Ukraine, drawing the attention of U.S. intelligence authorities after he made trips to the U.S. in April and August 2016 to meet with Manafort. Kilimnik himself suggested that during one of these trips, he assisted in weakening a proposed amendment for lethal weapons to Ukraine. During the 2016 election, Kilimnik was also reportedly in contact with Manafort about potentially providing Deripaska with private briefings about the election. In addition to the scrutiny he is currently under in the U.S., Kilimnik recently ran into legal issues in Ukraine when the prosecutor general launched a formal investigation into his alleged ties to Russian intelligence. He was cleared during the course of this investigation, although questions remain about the thoroughness of the inquiry.