MOSCOW (AP) — The body of a lawyer representing one of two Russian servicemen on trial in Ukraine has been found buried in an abandoned farm, officials said Friday. Two men have been detained in connection with his murder.
According to Anatoly Matios, chief military prosecutor, Yuri Grabovsky was drugged and kidnapped in Kiev earlier this month, then taken to the Black Sea port of Odessa, before he was transferred to the countryside nearly 150 kilometers (93 miles) south of the capital where he was shot and killed.
Grabovsky was representing Alexander Alexandrov, a serviceman captured along with another Russian, Yevgeny Yerofeyev, last year in rebel-held eastern Ukraine. The two men admitted they were Russian officers but Moscow said they had resigned from active duty. Russia has repeatedly denied it was supplying the separatists with equipment or recruits.
Matios told reporters that Grabovsky's body was found in the early hours of Friday after a suspect had told prosecutors about the location. Another suspect in the killing was detained later, he said.
The prosecutor would not immediately identify the motive for the killing or reveal the names of the suspects but said they had fake IDs of law enforcement agencies.
Hearings in the trial of the two Russians were adjourned in early March when Grabovsky did not show up in court. After Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko was convicted and sentenced to 22 years in a Russian prison, Ukraine's president said he would be willing to exchange the two Russian servicemen for Savchenko.
Shortly after his disappearance, Grabovsky's Facebook account was hijacked. Someone posted pictures from an Egyptian sea resort, impersonating the lawyer. His friends and colleagues said Grabovsky left his passport at home and could not possibly be abroad.
Amnesty International earlier this week raised the alarm about Grabovsky's disappearance, saying that he and the lawyer for the other defendant have been under "sustained pressure from the Ukrainian authorities" in connection with their role in the trial.
This story has been corrected to say that the lawyer represented only one of the two officers.