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Yanukovych's Son Reportedly Buried In Crimea

  • RFE/RL

The youngest son of ousted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was reportedly buried in the Russian-annexed Crimea region on March 23, the same day the party Yanukovych once led confirmed his son's death.

The funeral for Yanukovych's son, also named Viktor, was reportedly held at a military cemetery in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, the site of a Russian naval base.

The news agency Kryminform reports that Yanukovych's father and other relatives attended the funeral in a chapel at the cemetery.

The cemetery was reportedly encircled by security guards.

Reports of the death of Yanukovych, 33, appeared in Russian and Ukrainian media on March 22.

Anton Herashchenko, a lawmaker and aide to Ukraine's interior minister, said on Facebook that a minivan Yanukovych was driving sank in Russia's Lake Baikal after falling through thin ice.

Herashchenko said all five passengers survived and "four of them didn't even get their feet wet."

Other officials and media reports gave similar accounts, but there has been no confirmation from Russian authorities.

In Ukraine, the Party of Regions confirmed the younger Yanukovych's death in a statement on March 23, saying his life was "tragically cut short on March 20."

"Death obliges us to forget about about politics," the statement said.

It did not say how he died.

A former Party of Regions lawmaker in Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada, the national parliament, Yanukovych was reportedly going by the name of Viktor Davydov in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, and Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev refused on March 23 to comment on reports of his death.

A report about the accident in which Yanukovych is said to have perished was removed from the Russian Emergencies Ministry website shortly after it was posted.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said it has still not received a reply from Russian officials about Yanukovych's death.

President Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014 after months of mass protests over his decision to reject a deal for closer ties with the EU and instead move Kyiv closer to Moscow.

The ex-president and many family members are believed to be living in Russia in self-imposed exile.

The younger Viktor Yanukovych was married and had a young son.

He was reportedly an expert competitive driver.

His older brother, Oleksandr Yanukovych, is facing criminal charges in Ukraine for alleged corruption under his father's rule as president from 2010 to 2014.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine after sending troops there and staging a secession referendum on March 16, 2014, that was declared illegal in an overwhelming vote in the UN General Assembly.

The takeover has also been widely condemned by Western countries.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, Interfax, and Kryminform
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