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Death of lawyer of Russian national on trial in Ukraine confirmed — military prosecutor

March 25, 12:11 UTC+3 KIEV
"Yes, I can confirm the lawyer’s death," Ukraine’s Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios told Ukrainskaya Pravda declining to disclose further details of the investigation.
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Alexander Alexandrov

Alexander Alexandrov

© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

KIEV, March 25. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios has confirmed the death of lawyer Yuri Grabovsky who represented the interests of Russian citizen Alexander Aleksandrov detained in Ukraine.

"Yes, I can confirm the lawyer’s death," Matios told Ukrainskaya Pravda declining to disclose further details of the investigation.

The association of Ukrainian lawyers said earlier on Friday that Grabovsky had been found dead. "The suspect in this crime has been detained, and we hope that all those involved in the murder of our colleague will be punished," the association said in a statement.

Later Oksana Sokolovskaya, the lawyer of another Russian national detained in Ukraine, Yevgeny Yerofeyev, told TASS that Grabovsky’s body had been found buried in the ground in the Kiev region.

Grabovsky mysteriously disappeared in early March. His colleagues have established that the lawyer 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.

Police have opened a criminal case under the "premeditated murder" article over Grabovsky’s disappearance. Oksana Sokolovskaya said that Grabovsky’s disappearance was related to the court’s hearings on the case and that the materials on the defense for the Russian nationals in court had disappeared together with Grabovsky.

Aleksandrov and 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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