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Ukraine's Karavan killer suspect found dead

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By Graham Phillips

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It was an incident which stunned a Ukraine largely unaccustomed to gun killings. Now, suspected triple killer Yaroslav Mazurok has been found dead in Kiev, apparently having been holed up in a makeshift den in woods of Syretskyi Park, near the city's Dorogozhychi metro. However, rather than providing closure, this November 7th discovery of Mazurok's corpse would seem to be the latest instalment in a serpentine sequence of events following the September slaying.

News of Mazurok's body being found came just over a week after he was 'voted for' in the Ukrainian October 28th election (someone spoiled a ballot paper by writing his name on it), his having the day before apparently been apprehended by police in Kiev, as conspiracy theories abounded as to what really happened on September 26th. The October 27th Kontraktova metro capture had come just days after Mazurok's wife's lawyer said he believed Mazurok (who his wife has always contended was innocent) to be already dead, perhaps having killed himself due to the false accusations levelled against him.

Mazurok and Karavan

On September 26th, three security guards were shot dead in the back room of the Karavan shopping mall in Kiev. The killings came after a man had been caught on camera taking a USB flash drive, before seemingly attempting to conceal it from the cashier. Apprehended, and removed to a back room, the man later accused of being Mazurok proficiently produced a gun and killed three security guards, seriously injuring a fourth, before making his getaway.

At the time, the consensus was that it was a tragic case of security having picked on the wrong guy, a freak occurrence. Initial reports were of a professional Russian hitman, with at least 18 previous victims. Subsequently Mazurok, a Ukrainian Lviv native, was identified as the perpetrator, with posters of CCTV captures going up across Kiev and him put on international 'wanted' lists.

As the manhunt stretched from days into weeks, however, theories started to be advanced attesting to something more endemic than simply a lone madman, waiting to explode into fatal violence given provocation.

The first put forward, and circulated widely online, is that the security guards were participating in what, lamentably, counts as 'standard practice' in a country with an unflattering record on corruption. That is, that the guards were trying to extract a bribe from Mazurok, in order not to call the police. Mazurok, with little money on him, and a past which would have been of great interest to police, simply felt he could not afford to take the risk of police involvement, and to that end, did whatever he felt he had to, to escape. That this practice exists was substantiated by an undercover report from Ukraine's Channel 1+1, who in an expose, revealed Karavan security guards extracting bribes not to call the police when a person had been accused of wrongdoing.

The second theory, advanced by Mazurok's wife's lawyer Lawrence Kuhaleyshvili, on her behalf, is far more sinister. That on October 18th, a bill was due in Ukrainian parliament to debate security guards being allowed to carry weapons. The bill was duly passed, with Mazurok's wife Lyudmila feeling that the smoothness of its passage owed directly to events of September 26th, and making a strong connection between the two.

Her grievances, expressed through an interview with Kuhaleyshvili in Segodnya, began with the 'botched' investigation headed by Ukrainian Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko, and failings such as the releasing of Mazurok's name as a suspect before a proper investigation had been undertaken, thus compromising any examination of DNA. Lyudmila also believed the man in the YouTube video shown carrying out the execution was not actually her husband - with his having initially been described as 25-30 years old, and Mazurok actually 38. Moreover, she contended that not only did her husband not have the army training necessary (despite his having been reported as serving in the military in Uzbekistan) for such a quick, and lethal execution, but had arthritis affecting his joints, thus ability to hold a gun. Moreover, his employment, she stated, was rather itinerant plasterer than security worker.

Lyudmila conceded that Mazurok had been missing since September 27th, apparently having returned home after the incident and deposited the milk and bread in the fridge, his wife waking up to find his phone left on the table, and her husband gone. However, she believed he was on the run, tipped off, having been framed by security companies who staged the assassination using a professional hitman. They did so, Lyudmila put forward, in order to ensure the passage of the parliamentary bill on security guards bearing arms. Citing the vested interests of 'five thousand security firms' in the issue, she portrayed her husband as the fall guy of the piece.

The Law

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