City Council Member Found Dead With Broken Skull In Eastern Ukraine, Murder Probe Launched

Police in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine have launched a murder investigation after a city council member in the government-held Luhansk region city of Syevyerodonetsk was found dead, his skull broken.

Serhiy Samarskiy's body was found outside his apartment building shortly after midnight, regional police spokeswoman Tatyana Pohukay wrote on Facebook on November 3.

She said an investigation on suspicion of "premeditated murder" has been opened.

Syevyerdonetsk became the de-facto capital of the Luhansk region after Russia-backed separatists sezied control of the official capital, Luhansk, and several other districts in 2014.

Samarskiy, 55, was a member of President Petro Poroshenko's party. He initiated a 2015 decision by the Syevyerodonetsk city council to label Russia an aggressor country.

Syevyerodonetsk is about 50 kilometers from the front line in the conflict between government forces and the Russian-backed separatists, which has killed more than 10,000 people in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions since April 2014.