Ukraine: the head of a Belarusian NGO was discovered hanging

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The head of a Kyiv-based NGO that helped Belarusians fleeing persecution was discovered hanging. He has recently been ‘watched by strangers,’ according to friends.

Shishov is the director of the Belarusian House in Ukraine (BDU), a Kyiv-based charity that assists Belarusians fleeing persecution. The charity assists people in locating housing, jobs, and legal assistance. Following President Alexander Lukashenko’s brutal crackdown in Belarus, Ukraine, like Poland and Lithuania, has become a sanctuary for Belarusians. According to police, the activist was reported missing by his partner when he did not return after his morning run and did not respond to phone calls.

Shishov’s acquaintances reported that he had been followed by “strangers” while running recently, according to the human rights organization Vyasna. The Belarusian House in Ukraine issued a statement claiming he was being watched and that “both local sources and our people in Belarus” had warned the organization about the prospect of “different provocations, including kidnapping and liquidation.”

“There is no doubt that this was a planned operation by security operatives to liquidate a Belarusian, dangerous for the regime. We will continue to fight for the truth about Vitaly’s death,” the group said.

Shishov was compelled to relocate to Ukraine in the fall of 2020, according to the report, after anti-government riots in Belarus resulted in a crackdown on dissent. Following disputed elections last year, Belarus saw widespread rallies against President Alexander Lukashenko. Many Belarusians have fled to neighboring nations such as Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania as a result of the crackdown on the opposition.