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ST.PETERSBURG, May 27. /TASS/. Canada has refused to extradite to Russia World War II criminal Vladimir Katryuk, who participated in the massacre of civilians in the Belarusian village of Khatyn in 1943, a deputy Russian prosecutor general said on Tuesday.
In early May the Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Vladimir Katryuk residing in Canada since 1951 and accused him of complicity with genocide.
"Unfortunately, Canada, which should have brought him to responsibility, has rejected our request to extradite Katryuk," Alexander Zvyagintsev said. "In 2008 Canada dropped all charges against him for some unknown reasons."
According to the available evidence During World War II Katryuk voluntarily joined a Nazi police battalion, which on March 23, 1943 participated in the extermination of the Belarusian village of Khatyn, near Minsk, and all of its residents.
According to the investigators, Katryuk was one of those who drove the villagers out of their homes, led them to a barn on the outskirts of the community, locked them up inside and set the barn on fire. All those who tried to escape from the blaze were shot.
During the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation of Belarus, then a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, 400,000 local civilians were exterminated.
In the 1970s, the Belarusian military tribunal, set up to investigate the Khatyn massacre, found two of Katryuk’s accomplices, Grigory Vasyura and Vasily Meleshko, guilty of genocide and sentenced them to death. Both were shot in 1975.
In 1999 Canada stripped Katryuk of its citizenship after evidence of war crimes caught public attention. A court restored his Canadian citizenship in November 2010.
In 2012, Nazi hunters from the non-governmental organization Simon Wiesenthal Centre unearthed documents confirming that Katryuk was one of those who shot Khatyn civilians in 1943.