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Ex-official for pro-Russian party detained for attempted contract killing

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 10, 2023 3:25 PM 2 min read
Evidence found during a search of the suspect's home, reported on Aug. 10, 2023. (State Bureau of Investigation)
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Security forces announced the arrest of a former city council member after they prevented a contract killing he allegedly organized that targeted a council member in Zhmerynka, Vinnytsia Oblast.

The man, who once represented the now-banned pro-Russian party Opposition Platform - For Life in the council, is the son of a politician who represented another banned pro-Russian party in Ukraine's parliament.

Ukrainska Pravda reports that the man's father is Viktor Zherebnyuk, who represented the Party of Regions in Ukraine's parliament. Zherebnyuk left Ukraine at the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

The State Bureau of Investigation did not name either man, but explained that in his father's absence, the son was representing his "business and political interests in the city."

A few months ago a conflict arose between the suspect's father and another local council member relating to land plots for construction, and the son "decided to 'help' his father and tried to organize the premeditated murder" of the man.

He believed he had found someone willing to carry out the murder for $8,500.

However, Bureau agents faked the murder and took staged photos, which the fake contract killer sent to the city council deputy as proof he had completed his assignment. After paying the "contractor," the official was arrested.

A pre-trial investigation is ongoing. If sentenced, the council member can face life in prison.

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