Vitaly Shishov: Head of Belarusian exile group has reportedly gone missing in Ukraine

The head of an organisation helping Belarusians fleeing abroad has gone missing in Ukraine.

Vitaly Shishov, head of the Kyiv-based Belarusian House in Ukraine, was reported missing by his partner after failing to return from a jog, Reuters news agency quoted police as saying.

His organisation said a search of the area in which Mr Shishov normally ran had failed to find any sign of him.

Many Belarusians have left the country after a violent crackdown last year.

Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania in particular have become favoured destinations for those fleeing persecution following a disputed presidential election in Belarus in August 2020.

Friends of Mr Shishov reported that he had been followed recently, Belarusian journalist Tadeusz Gizcan said in a tweet on Monday.

He added that Ukranian border forces had been made aware of the case.

The Belarusian House in Ukraine provides support to new arrivals in finding accommodation, jobs and legal advice, its website says.

The news comes the same day as a Belarusian athlete competing in the Tokyo Olympics was granted a humanitarian visa from Poland after refusing her team’s order to fly home early.