Ukrainian police have opened a murder investigation following the discovery of a Belarusian activist who was found hanged in a park in Kiev.
The activist, identified as Vitaly Shishov, was reported as missing yesterday before he was found dead today in the park, which is in close proximity to where he lived.
It’s understood that Shishov went out for a jog yesterday but failed to return home.
Amid concerns over Shishov failing to return home, his partner alerted the police.
Shishov, who was the head of Belarusian House in Ukraine, an organisation that helps Belarusians who fled abroad, is said to have been recently followed by strangers while out jogging, according to friends of the activist.
With a murder probe launched, police stated that they will be pursuing all possible leads, which includes the possibility of the murder being disguised as a suicide.
Since mass protests broke out last year in Belarus over the elections, any form of dissent is being clamped down on in the country.
As a result, many Belarusians have fled the country to neighbouring Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania.
Shishov’s death comes as Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was forced to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics along with receiving threats of forced repatriation for criticising her athletics federation.
After being granted a humanitarian visa by Poland, she feared that she would face imprisonment upon returning to Belarus.