Russian citizen Valery Ivanov died in a penal colony in western Ukraine’s Lviv [Lvov] Region, Russia’s Embassy in Ukraine confirmed on December 19.
“We know about the death of Russian citizen Valery Ivanov in the Drogobich colony. This tragic case is under control of the Russian Consulate General in Lvov,” a spokesman for the embassy said.
According to Olga Kobtseva, a representative of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) in the humanitarian subgroup of the Contact Group, Ivanov was a Russian volunteer fighting alongside the LPR. Kobtseva said that he died after being beaten by prison guards.
Ivanov had been included in the latest prisoner swap list between the LPR and Ukraine. However, Kiev excluded him and some other Russian citizens from the list at the last minute before the swap.
On December 21, the Russian Foreign Ministry released an official statement on this situation saying that the nature of the injuries on the body Ivanov gives grounds to believe that he was murdered.
“According to the information we have, an autopsy revealed that the victim had numerous serious injuries, including a fracture of four ribs and a closed head injury. This gives reason to assume a deliberate murder of a Russian citizen”, the ministry said in a statement. “We continue to keep the situation under control, we are counting on an unbiased and objective investigation of the death of the Russian citizen.”
According to the minsitry, the head of the prison claimed that Ivanov died from injuries sustained as a result of falling from a stepladder during the replacement of a light bulb.