Photo from UNIAN

Ukrainian SBU Security Service's chief Olena Gitlianska says SBU operatives are conducting searches at premises of former Deputy Chairman of Kherson Regional State Administration Yevhen Ryshchuk in the case of the assassination of Kherson activist Kateryna Handziuk.

"Today, SBU investigators do conduct a series of searches in Kherson region, including that [in the premises] of the former deputy head of the Kherson Regional State Administration Yevhen Ryshchuk. Investigative actions are taking place as part of a probe into the assassination of Kateryna Handziuk," she wrote on Facebook on June 19.

The details of the case will not be disclosed until the investigation is finished, she added.

Read alsoU.S. Embassy hopes for justice in Handziuk case

UNIAN memo. Kherson activist, adviser to the Mayor of Kherson and acting manager of affairs at Kherson City Council's executive committee Kateryna Handziuk, 33, on July 31, 2018, survived an act of acid throwing. She suffered burns to more than 35% of her body and underwent 11 operations in Kyiv. Handziuk died on November 4, 2018. The immediate cause of her death was a severed blood clot resulting from the acid attack.

Police originally qualified the attack as an attempted murder committed with extreme cruelty, then its status was changed to completed murder. Six suspects were detained, one of whom, Mykola Novikov, was later released from custody as charges against him were dropped. The alleged participant in the assassination, Serhiy Torbin, and Mykyta Hrabchuk, another suspect in the case, were remanded in custody. Three other suspects – Vyacheslav Vishnevsky, Volodymyr Vasyanovych, and Viktor Horbunov – were placed under house arrest. On November 5, the media reported that Torbin had allegedly received money for the attack on Handziuk from Ihor Pavlovsky, an assistant to Member of Parliament from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc parliamentary faction Mykola Palamarchuk. Palamarchuk in turn dismissed any accusations of his possible involvement in the assassination attempt on the activist. He also said he had dismissed Pavlovsky. On November 12, a court ruled to detain Pavlovsky. According to the SBU Security Service, he is suspected of complicity in the Handziuk murder.

Chief Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko announced on December 3 that the investigators had identified all the individuals who had ordered the assassination. He also named Oleksiy Levin (his real second name is Moskalenko) who later was placed on the international wanted list on December 10, 2018, on suspicion of involvement in the Handziuk assassination.

Head of Kherson Regional Council Vladyslav Manger is charged with organizing the assassination.

Social activists believe that former Chairman of Kherson Regional State Administration Andriy Gordeev and his deputy, Yevhen Ryshchuk, are involved in the Handziuk murder.

On April 12, the then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accepted the resignation Gordeev.