Western Diplomats Urge Justice Over Acid Killing Of Ukrainian Activist

Western diplomats have urged Kyiv to bring the planners and perpetrators of an acid attack that led to the death of Ukrainian anti-corruption activist Kateryna Handzyuk to justice two years after the brazen crime.

Handzyuk died on November 4, 2018, three months after she suffered burns to over 30 percent of her body in an acid attack in front of her home.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv issued a statement via Facebook on the second anniversary of the activist's death, saying, "We remember the dedication, will, and remarkable courage" of Handzyuk.

"We join those urging authorities to bring to justice both her attackers and those who called for the attacks. Her memory is preserved in the growing acknowledgment that civil society is a critical part of any successful democracy," the statement said.

The EU delegation in Ukraine issued a similar statement via Twitter, emphasizing that individuals "responsible for this crime must be brought to justice."

"[A] safe environment in Ukraine for civil society activists must be safeguarded across the country," the tweet added.

British Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons also expressed hope that "justice will be served soon" for Handzyuk.

She vowed that she will "raise the issue of her case" this week both in Handzyuk's native city of Kherson and in Kyiv.

The Canadian Embassy in Ukraine also issued a statement regarding the deadly attack on Handzyuk on Twitter.

"There is no place for brutality and intimidation against activists, human rights defenders, and media in Ukraine. Attacks on activists in Ukraine must stop, all crimes fully investigated, and those responsible brought to justice," the Canadian Embassy added.

The deadly attack on Handzyuk, a 33-year-old civil activist and adviser to the mayor of the Black Sea port city of Kherson, shocked people across Ukraine and abroad.

Human rights activists have accused Ukrainian law enforcement of failing to thoroughly investigate the growing number of attacks on activists and suspicions of collusion with the perpetrators in some cases.

In June 2019, five men were sentenced to prison terms of between three and 6 1/2 years for organizing and executing the attack on Handzyuk based on a plea bargain.

A year later, investigators arrested the head of the regional council, Vladyslav Manher, on suspicion of involvement in ordering the deadly attack. Manher has denied the accusations.