Missing Belarus exile group leader, Vitaly Shishov found hanged in Ukraine

Missing Belarus exile group leader Vitaly Shishov found hanged in Ukraine

A Belarusian activist, Vitaly Shishov, was found dead in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, a day after he was reported missing, police said on Tuesday.

Shishov, who led a Kiev-based non-profit group that helped new arrivals fleeing Belarus settle in Ukraine, was found hanged in a park near his home in Kiev.

His personal belongings including his mobile phone were found near the body.

Shishov’s group, Belarusian House in Ukraine, had on Monday reported him missing after he didn’t return from a jog.

Kiev police said they were investigating the death, including the possibility that it wasn’t the result of suicide, but murder.

Shishov had fled to Ukraine in 2020 out of fear for his safety, following mass anti-government protests that he took part in, according to Belarusian House.

Many Belarusians have fled abroad to escape a crackdown by the government of authoritarian ruler Alexander Lukashenko.

For example, the case of Belarusian Olympic athlete Kristina Timanovskaya has caused an international stir in recent days.

On Monday, the 24-year-old runner was granted a humanitarian visa by Poland’s embassy in Tokyo, Japan, after what she described as an attempted kidnapping to forcibly repatriate her after she criticized Belarusian sports officials.

Timanovskaya is now under the protection of the Japanese police and she is expected to leave for Poland soon, NAN reports.