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Lavrov says no doubt Ukrainian lawyer killed for defending Russian citizens

April 11, 14:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"No one has any doubt and this was shown on television that he was killed for defending the citizens who were under investigation as part of Ukraine’s judicial procedures," Sergey Lavrov says
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Alexander Aleksandrov and Yuri Grabovsky

Alexander Aleksandrov and Yuri Grabovsky

© Sergei Reznik/TASS, file

MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday there is no doubt that lawyer Yuri Grabovsky was murdered for defending the interests of Russian citizens in Ukraine’s court.

"The lawyer of our citizens was in fact tortured in a live broadcast and he was later killed. No one has any doubt and this was shown on television that he was killed for defending the citizens who were under investigation as part of Ukraine’s judicial procedures," Lavrov said after talks with Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.

Lavrov also said there have been threats against Oksana Sokolovskaya, who is another lawyer for Russian citizens Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev.

Earlier in the day, Kiev’s Goloseyevsky district court resumed the hearing into the case despite the arson attack on the judge’s cabinet overnight to Friday. The defendants were taken to the court building in helmets and body armors.

Lavrov reminded that Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev indeed were Russian servicemen a long time ago and then retired and went to fight in Donbass as part of self-defense militias. "They were captured and now a trial of them is underway."

Grabovsky’s body was found with gunshot wounds in the Cherkasy region of central Ukraine on March 25. Law enforcers have detained two suspects in the crime. Investigators say the murder could have been a "specially planned operation."

The lawyer mysteriously disappeared in early March. He was in Odessa, southern Ukraine, on March 5 and returned to his Kiev office the following day, and no one saw him later. His personal belongings were found in hotel Arcadia in Odessa while a notice on the lawyer’s behalf was posted on his page in a social network saying he had left the country for security reasons.

Russian citizens Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev were captured by Ukraine’s forces on May 16, 2015, in the Lugansk region, in eastern Ukraine. They are accused of illegal border crossing, illegal possession of arms and involvement in terrorist activity. Kiev claims the detainees are Russian servicemen. However, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Russians "were not active servicemen of Russia’s Armed Forces at the moment of their detention.".

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