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Ukraine suspects 2 Kazakhs in assassination attempt on compatriot opposition activist in Kyiv

by Kateryna Denisova June 21, 2024 1:32 PM 3 min read
Kazakh journalists Aidos and Natalya Sadykov. (Natalya Sadykova/Facebook)
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Ukrainian law enforcement agencies suspect two residents of Kazakhstan in an assassination attempt on Kazakh opposition activist and journalist Aidos Sadykov in Kyiv, the Prosecutor General's Office announced on June 20.

The suspects were put on an international wanted list.

Sadykov was shot on June 18 when an attacker approached his car parked in the Shevchenkivskyi district of Kyiv. The activist suffered a brain injury and was hospitalized. He is reportedly in serious condition.

The two suspects, Altai Zhakanbayev and Meiram Karatayev, born in 1988 and 1991, respectively, arrived in Ukraine's capital on June 2 and rented apartments at different addresses, according to the prosecutors.

Four days later, Zhakanbayev bought a car, allegedly to stalk Sadykov. The suspects learned the victim's schedule, social circles, and routes to Sadykov's home, the statement read. The two reportedly rented an apartment near Sadykov's home on June 8 for the next nine days.


According to the prosecutors, Karatayev was supposed to approach Sadykov's car when he was in it, shoot him with a silenced firearm, and flee while Zhakanbayev was on the lookout for the police.

The suspects threw away the gun that Karatayev used to shoot Sadykov in the head on June 18 and crossed the border into Moldova the same day, the police said.

The activist's wife, Natalya Sadykova, accuses Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of involvement in the assassination attempt. Tokayev said that the Kazakh authorities are ready to join the investigation.

Aidos Sadykov and his wife Natalya Sadykova fled Kazakhstan and were granted refugee status in Ukraine in 2014. The couple founded the Base YouTube channel, which is critical of the Kazakh government and oligarchs and has over 1 million subscribers.

Until 2010, Sadykov was the leader of one of the branches of the opposition party Azat in Kazakhstan. He then founded the Gastat movement and organized actions in defense of civil and political rights, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RLE).

The Kazakh court sentenced the activist to two years in prison for "resisting the police" in a case the couple called politically motivated.

The Sadykovs have been placed on Kazakhstan's wanted list in October 2023.

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