MOSCOW — Belarus’s strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko denies his country’s security services were involved in the death of a Belarusian activist in Ukraine.
“He was a nobody for us,” he says at a press conference in Minsk, adding that the death of exile Vitaly Shishov in Kyiv last week had strained relations with Ukraine.
Kiev opened a murder probe and Lukashenko’s critics accused his regime of killing the 26-year-old activist who helped his compatriots flee repression.
“What kind of madman would go and hang him?” Lukashenko says, adding that he had “enough people to deal with without Shishov.”
He accuses Kyiv security services of backing Shishov and demands Ukraine “put the facts on the table.”
“Tell us what happened to the citizen of Belarus,” he says.
Shishov headed the Belarusian House in Ukraine, a non-governmental organization involved in everything from helping fellow compatriots settle in Ukraine to staging anti-regime protests.
Lukashenko also denies that Minsk tried to forcibly bring home athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya from the Tokyo Olympics, accusing her of being “controlled” by Poland, where she has since sought refuge.
“She would not have done this if she wasn’t controlled by her mates in Poland,” he says.
He adds that there had not been “not a single” KGB agent at the Tokyo Olympics.