A Belarusian activist living in exile in Ukraine was found dead near his home in Kyiv early.
The victim was identified as Vitaly Shishov, who leads a Kyiv-based organisation that helps
Belarusians fleeing persecution.
Shishov was found hanged in a park near his home after being reported missing by his
partner after failing to return home from a run.
Ukrainian police launched an investigation into the incident, whether it was a suicide or a murder.
Since he was elected head of the state last year, Belarusian President Alexander
Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has launched an unprecedented
repression campaign against rights activists.
Since then, tens of thousands of people have been detained or forced to live abroad.
More Protection Needed
Thus, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered law enforcement agencies to better
protect Belarusian exiles in his country.
“Every Belarusian who could become a target for criminals because of political stance must
receive special reliable protection,” Zelenskyy said in a statement.
“This decision was made after police obtained information on possible risks for several Belarusian activists,” the statement added.
Ukrainian authorities have already drawn up a list of Belarusians who might be at risk and
offered them additional protection measures, Zelenskyy said.
Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania have become a refuge for hundreds of Belarusians fleeing the crackdown.
The sprinter Krystina Tsimanouskaya is one of the latest Belarusian asylum seekers against
a humanitarian visa in Poland for fear of being punished at home.