Ukrainian Roma Activist In Emergency Care After Stabbing

The head of a Roma support center in the city of Zaporizhzhya in southern Ukraine was stabbed in the chest and seriously wounded by an unknown attacker who allegedly stalked her on October 24.

Naufal Khamdani, who heads the Association of National Minorities in the city, told RFE/RL that the assailant had followed Anzhelika Byelova, an ethnic Roma, from a supermarket to her home and stabbed her in the entrance way of her residence.

Khamdani said possible motives for the stabbing were Byelova's work as the head of the Lacho Drom Roma center, or the activities of her husband, who is the leader of the Zaporizhzhya Anti-Corruption Movement.

Another version is that the assailant was "psychologically ill and stalked her," Khamdani said.

Police are still searching for the suspect.

Byelova underwent surgery and is currently in intensive care at the local hospital.

Since 2017, more than 55 attacks on journalists, civic activists, and corruption whistle-blowers have gone unsolved, according to the Silence Kills coalition of Ukrainian activists.

Five of the attacks led to deaths, including that of Kyiv human rights activist and lawyer Iryna Nozdrovska, who was investigating the death of her sister.

Another victim was Kateryna Handzyuk, whose skin was burned in a sulfuric-acid attack in Kherson, where she worked to uncover corruption. She died of her wounds three months later, in November 2018.

With reporting by The Ukrainian Weekly and Ukrayinska Pravda