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Ukrainian Yuriy Grabovsky, Lawyer of Captured Russian Soldiers, Found Dead | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yuri Grabovsky (right) in court with Russian serviceman Alexander Alexandrov.

Yuri Grabovsky (right) in court with Russian serviceman Alexander Alexandrov.

Yuri Grabovsky (right) in court with Russian serviceman Alexander Alexandrov.

KIEV – Yuriy Grabovsky, Ukrainian lawyer, was found a dead body that has been discovered on the grounds of a former farming collective, prosecutor Anatoly Matios said on Friday, saying two men were in custody in connection with the lawyer’s death. It is worth noting that Grabovsky was the lawyer of two Russian servicemen on trial in Ukraine.

The latter was part of the legal team representing the two Russians arrested last May on terrorism charges related to the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine. Their case has earned a lot of attention because of Ukraine’s wish to exchange the servicemen for Ukrainians detained in Russia, including pilot Nadezhda Savcheko.

Early this Marchm, Grabovsky went missing until on Thursday evening police launched a search for his body pertinent on information revealed from one of two men detained over his vanishing, Matios said in a briefing. Matios said Grabovsky’s body had been found at 0400 local time (0200 GMT) during a police excavation of land on a former farming collective.

Stating that the lawyer had been robbed and had an explosive device attached to his leg, Matios said, “Provisionally, I can say that … (he) was killed in a violent way and finished off with a firearm.”

Matios however cleared out that he could not provide detail on possible motives but later said that it was in Russia’s interest for the servicemen’s trial to be delayed. Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement that blamed Ukrainian authorities for failing to protect Grabovsky, who they said had become a victim of anti-Russian sentiment in Ukraine because of his role defending the Russian servicemen.

“Despite all warnings, Kiev authorities were still unable or unwilling to guarantee Grabovsky’s safety,” the ministry statement said.

Russia denies sending troops to help separatist fighters in east Ukraine and says the two Russians — Alexander Alexandrov and his commander, Captain Yevgeny Yerofeyev — had quit their special forces unit to go there independently.

Earlier this week Matios said the Russian servicemen’s case would continue despite Grabovsky’s absence, but the men would not be physically present during the trial in the interests of security. Grabovsky was one of a team of lawyers representing the defendants.

President Petro Poroshenko showed his cooperation On Tuesday as he said that Ukraine would be willing to hand over the two servicemen provided that Russia returned Ukrainians, including Savchenko, who has been sentenced to 22 years in jail for alleged involvement in the killing of two Russian journalists.