Updated at 17:39,28-11-2020

Belarusian killed in Kyiv clashes laid to rest near Homyel

Alena HERMANOVICH, Naviny.by / BelaPAN

Mikhail Zhyznewski, a Belarusian citizen killed in clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Kyiv last week, was laid to rest near his home city of Homyel on Tuesday evening, BelaPAN said.

The body of the 25-year-old Zhyznewski was delivered to the cemetery near the village of Stsyah Pratsy at 7:45 p.m., nearly eight hours later than scheduled. According to Mr. Zhyznewski’s father, the delay was due to poor weather conditions, lengthy border procedures and security measures taken by Mikhail’s Ukrainian friends to prevent any interference by state security agencies. In addition, it was difficult to gather all papers necessary to remove the body from Kyiv, he said.

The man expressed doubt that those responsible for his son’s death would be found. He noted that Mikhail had probably been killed by a sniper.

The funeral was also attended by Mr. Zhyznewski’s mother and sister and representatives of opposition and civil society organizations, who displayed white-red-white flags and national flags of Ukraine. Leanid Akalovich, a priest of the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, conducted the graveside service. A white-red-white flag was draped over the casket before it was lowered into the grave.

Mikhail "Loki" Zhyznewski, who would have had his 26th birthday on Sunday, left Belarus in 2005 and lived in the city of Bila Tserkva near Kyiv. He was killed by a gunshot to the chest on the morning of January 22 on Hrushevskoho Street in central Kyiv.

Initial reports had it that he was killed by a 9mm bullet from a Makarov pistol, the Ukrainian police’s standard sidearm, but his Bila Tserkva friend, who saw his body in a Kyiv mortuary, says that it was not a Makarov pistol. According to Oleksandra Panchenko, she saw a large bullet entry hole right at the center of the chest, which indicated that he had been shot at from the front. She says that someone hastily stitched up the hole, and that police officers handed her a paper saying that the cause of the death was not established.

Ms. Panchenko says that she showed photographs of the wound to firearm experts who concluded that the hole had been caused by a 12mm bullet, usually used for hunting large game.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities keep claiming that neither police nor state security forces were involved in the death of Mikhail Zhyznewski and other protesters.

Oleksandr Kharlov, a departmental head at the Kyiv City Prosecutor’s Office, told reporters on Saturday that in the past three days, unidentified criminals had "used firearms during the unrest in Kyiv, taking advantage of the general euphoria among radical protesters."

Mr. Kharlov noted that firearms "adapted to fire bullet cartridges for hunting" were used in all the cases.

Investigators’ and forensic experts’ findings exclude the possibility that such firearms were used by special task and other police units, Mr. Kharlov stressed.

He noted that the cases would continue to be investigated.