Head of Belarusian House in Ukraine found hanged in Kyiv

On August 2, Vital Shyshou, the head of the Belarusian House in Ukraine, went for a run and disappeared.

On Tuesday morning, he was found dead on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital city. Telegram channel Silovoy was the first to break the grave news; it was then confirmed by the local police. According to the channel, the Belarusian was hanged on a tree in the forest in the vicinity of the village of Chayki. Vital’s phone was lying on the ground not far from the scene.

The police have initiated a criminal case over alleged premeditated homicide; it should be noted, however, that the murder disguised as suicide is just one of the versions. Ukrainian MPs from the inter-factional association ‘For Democratic Belarus’ have urged Interior Minister to take the investigation of Shyshou’s death under personal control; they believe that Belarusian special services may be involved in the tragic event.

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Vital Shyshou had been watched by unknown people during the runs; some suspicious persons had repeatedly approached him and his girlfriend and tried to talk, his acquaintances told Belsat. Shyshou’s phone was disconnected from the Google account through which it would have been possible to remotely detect the exact location of the holder, the Belarusian House in Ukraine reports. There was neither fitness wristband nor smart watch on the body.

In the chat of the Belarusian House, a lot of users write that they do not believe that the deceased man committed suicide. The organisation states: “There is no doubt that that was a planned liquidation operation by chekists [security agents].”

Shyshou reportedly left Belarus for Ukraine in the autumn of 2020 in fear of being persecuted for taking part in post-election protests in his native country.

Vital Shyshou is considered to be a founder of the NGO Belarusian House in Ukraine; according to his associates, he stood at the origins of the organisation and tried to be engaged in ‘every field of its activity’, from helping newcomers to holding rallies. At the same time, RFE/RL stresses that the work of the local Belarusian House was initially associated with Syarhei Karotki, a Belarusian national who fought in Donbas as part of the Azov Battalion and later received Ukrainian citizenship.

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