The representative of the State Department did not conclude the possible causes of Vitaly Shishov’s death, explaining that the investigation has not yet been completed.
The United States will closely monitor the investigation into the cause of death of Belarusian opposition activist Vitaly Shishov, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing brutal transnational repressions against Belarusian civil society by the Lukashenka regime,” Price said, responding to a journalist’s request to comment on the accusations that Belarusian special services were involved in Shishov’s death, which representatives of the Belarusian opposition have already put forward.
“Mr. Shishov was forced to live outside his country because of the repressions of the Lukashenka regime… against journalists, civil society, political opposition, athletes and ordinary citizens by the authorities,” Price said.
The representative of the State Department recalled that only in recent weeks the international community has seen “disturbing incidents” related to the actions of official Minsk, including the forced landing of the Ryanair airliner and the scandal with the Belarusian Olympic athlete who asked for political asylum in Poland.
“Now that it has come to the death of Mr. Shishov, we will continue to monitor the investigation closely, although we refer you to the Ukrainian authorities for comments,” Price added.
On Tuesday morning, Vitaly Shishov, who was forced to flee to Ukraine, was found hanged in a park near his home in Kyiv. Ukrainian police are investigating the circumstances of his death.
Shishov, who headed an organization in Kyiv that helps Belarusians fleeing persecution by the authorities, went missing on Monday, having not returned home from a jog.
The police are considering the possibility of suicide or staged suicide. Shishov was found to have abrasions on his nose and knees, but it is too early to say that he was the victim of an attack, the head of the National Police of Ukraine, Ihor Klimenko, said today.
“The death occurred against the background of unacceptable repressions against civil society by the Belarusian authorities, and we hope for a full and thorough investigation by the Ukrainian authorities to establish the causes and circumstances of (Shishov’s) death,” the US Embassy in Kyiv said today.