Metropolitan Klyment of the OCU tells about the beating of the now comatose Volodymyr Balukh
Metropolitan Klyment of Simferopol and Crimea, who was Balukh's public defender, told 'GORDON' media outlet that all information about the attack on former political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh and his place of residence had been classified so far.
“I managed to get through to Volodymyr Balukh's phone. The woman who found him this morning received the call. She's terrified. We agreed that I would call her from time to time. She said that she saw him in a forest near the Hydropark in Kyiv. She said that Volodymyr was badly beaten. He had a broken arm at the collarbone (an open fracture) and a badly bruised head. He was losing and regaining his consciousness over and over again. The police and ambulance were called. After Volodymyr was taken away by doctors, they managed to find a bag with his personal belongings and documents. This made it possible for the woman to contact Volodymyr's relatives,” Klyment said.
According to him, it was not yet possible to find out to which hospital in Kyiv Balukh had been taken.
“Now Balukh's sister and other close relatives, with whom he kept in touch, are on their way to Kyiv. Now the main thing is to find out what information the police have about the incident in the Hydropark, and where, to which hospital Balukh was taken. The team that was carrying Balukh said nothing to the woman who found Volodymyr. We try to call the emergency hospital, but they don't give us any information. We asked the police to help us, but so far all information is classified,” Klyment concluded.
The fact that Balukh was beaten was reported on Facebook by a Ukrainian film director and former political prisoner of the Kremlin, Oleg Sentsov. Later, he added that Balukh's arm and collarbone were broken, but there was no threat to his life.
The investigation into the attack on Balukh is being carried out by employees of the Dniprovsky Police Department in Kyiv. They said that an investigation team of the most experienced and highly qualified police officers had been set up. Law enforcement officers work out the crime scene, identify witnesses and eyewitnesses of the incident. Also, the police are in a medical facility to communicate with the victim as soon as they have the permission of doctors.
Balukh, a farmer, was detained in the Russian-annexed Crimea after a search in December 2016. According to the FSB, cartridges and TNT bombs were found in the attic of his house.
In August 2017, another criminal case was initiated against Balukh – according to the statement of the head of the Razdolnensky temporary detention center, Valery Tkachenko, who claimed that the activist beat him. According to the Ukrainian's defense, Tkachenko himself attacked Balukh, hit him and insulted him.
Lawyers and human rights activists claim that Balukh was the victim of reprisals for his pro-Ukrainian position – for the flag of Ukraine, which was hung in the courtyard of his house.
In July 2018, based on the two criminal cases, Balukh was sentenced to five years in a General regime colony and a fine of 10 thousand rubles (appr. UAH 4 thousand). In his last speech, the Ukrainian stated a political motive for the persecution. In October, the so-called Supreme Court in occupied Crimea reduced Balukh's prison term by one month.
On September 7, 2019, Balukh returned to Ukraine as part of a Ukrainian-Russian exchange of detainees.