Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

More fallout from Kravchenko's suicide

By Aussiegirl

The story of former Interior Minister Kravchenko's suicide is being covered in newspapers across the globe, here's the take from the LA Times which contains a few new facts which I have also gleaned from various Ukrainian sources. I might caution that as in a lot of these news stories, a lot of early information may prove to be incorrect. Some of the new information seems to concern the fact that there may have been two gunshot wounds to the head, one to the chin, which was not fatal, and another to the temple, which was.

According to other sources Kravchenko left a suicide note blaming Kuchma for his suicide and wanting to protect his family.

Several deputies doubted that the death was a suicide and criticized the government for not having arrested Kravchenko a month ago to place him in protective custody. There were also calls to place Kuchma under protective custody. Kuchma, for his part, vowed that he was innocent of the charges and that he would reutrn to Ukraine on Saturday and face questioning in the matter.

The widow of Gongadze, Miroslava, speaking from the United States where she presently resides suggested that the death was part of a cover-up attempt, saying there were "too many people from the old regime who would try to conceal the true course of events."

Read more:

The allegations against Kuchma were based on recordings that a former presidential bodyguard, Mykola Melnichenko, said were made secretly in the president's office.
In the tapes, Kuchma was overheard repeatedly complaining about Gongadze's reporting and ordering Kravchenko to "drive him out, throw (him) out, give him to the Chechens."
Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, who was Kuchma's chief of staff, was also allegedly heard on the tapes saying: "In my opinion, let loose Kravchenko to use alternative methods."
Kuchma has disputed the tapes' authenticity and Lytvyn said he was ready to testify in connection with the case.

. . . Melnichenko said Friday that Kravchenko's death "plays into Kuchma's hands."
"Fewer and fewer witnesses remain,"
Melnichenko told The Associated Press by
telephone from London.

. . .On Wednesday, Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun said investigators had identified all four people involved in Gongadze's killing and knew who was the mastermind. He refused to reveal the person's identity.

Two of the suspects, all employed by Ukraine's police, are in custody, one is under orders not to leave Kiev, and the fourth, senior police official Oleksiy Pukach, is at large and on an international warrant, Piskun said.

On Monday, a man identified as a key witness in the case, Yuriy Nesterov, was reportedly wounded in a grenade explosion. Another key witness, former police officer Ihor Honcharov, died in prison two years ago under suspicious circumstances. In a letter prior to his death, Honcharov implicated Nesterov in kidnapping, torturing and killing Gongadze.


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