Volunteer Aiding Ukrainian Refugees Dies Suspiciously in Russian Detention

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.10 - 2024 9:50 AM CET

Photo: Alexander Demidenko via social media
Photo: Alexander Demidenko via social media
Volunteer dies under suspicious circumstances in a Russian detention center.

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In the Russian Federation, the Federal Penitentiary Service declared suicide as the cause of death for Oleksandr Demydenko, a volunteer assisting Ukrainian refugees, in a pre-trial detention center. This information was reported by Radio Liberty, as covered by Ukrinform.

Demydenko's death was confirmed on April 8 at the pre-trial detention center No. 3 in the Belgorod region, although authorities stated he died three days prior.

Since the outbreak of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, 61-year-old Demydenko had been an active participant in anti-war pickets, using his voice and resources to oppose the conflict. His humanitarian efforts extended to hosting hundreds of Ukrainian refugees in his home and assisting their safe return across the border.

Detainment and Allegations

Demydenko's humanitarian work with Ukrainian refugees came to a halt in October when he was detained, arrested, and sent to a detention center in the Belgorod region.

A search of his home reportedly uncovered a grenade and detonators from the Second World War.

Post-arrest, Demydenko showed visible signs of physical abuse, as noted by his family and media reports. He later confessed to finding the grenade but did not manage to report it to the authorities in time.

Suspicious Circumstances Surrounding Death

Media reports suggest that plans were in motion to transfer Demydenko from Belgorod to St. Petersburg and escalate his charges, possibly to treason.

Ukrinform later confirmed that Demydenko passed away on April 5 in the Belgorod pre-trial detention center, with his lawyer notifying his family three days afterward.

The media circulated a photo provided by Demydenko's son, showing the deceased with evident signs of severe physical abuse.

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