Exiled Belarus activist found dead in Ukraine

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A Belarusian activist living in exile in Ukraine, Vitaly Shishov, has been found dead in a park near his home in Kyiv.

Shishov, who led the Belarusian House in Ukraine, a Kyiv-based organisation that helps Belarusians fleeing persecution, had been reported missing by his partner on Monday after he failed to return from a jog.

His body was found hanged in a park in Kyiv, a day after with his mobile phone and personal belongings removed from the scene.

According to a statement by the  Police, an investigation into the suspected “premeditated murder” has been launched, and will investigate all possibilities, including the possibility that it was “murder disguised as suicide.

“Belarusian citizen Vitaly Shishov, who disappeared yesterday in Kyiv, was found hanged today in one of Kyiv’s parks, not far from his place of residence,” the police statement said.

Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania have become havens for Belarusians during a crackdown by President Alexander Lukashenko following a disputed election last year.

Shishov led the Belarusian House in Ukraine (BDU) group, which helps Belarusians find accommodation, jobs and legal advice, according to its website.

“We were also repeatedly warned by both local sources and our people in the Republic of Belarus about all kinds of provocations, including kidnapping and liquidation,” BDU said in a statement.

“Vitaly treated these warnings stoically and with humour.”

The organisation had said on Monday it was not able to contact Shishov. It said Shishov had left his residence at 9 a.m. and was supposed to have returned an hour later.




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