Balukh was assaulted in Kyiv on September 8 / Photo from UNIAN

Former Russian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh has been put in a medically induced coma after recent assault.

"Law enforcers have not yet had the opportunity to interview Balukh, the doctors put him in a medically induced coma," the Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper reported, citing sources in law enforcement agencies.

Assault on Balukh: Background

  • Former Russian political prisoner Oleh Sentsov said Volodymyr Balukh had been assaulted in Kyiv overnight Tuesday, September 8. Meanwhile, September 7 marked a year since his successful return to Ukraine after he was released from a Russian prison.
  • Sentsov said Balukh was found in the morning, with his arm and collarbone fractured.
  • Balukh underwent surgery, having suffered a severe head injury. He has since remained in grave but stable condition.

Read alsoPolice classify assault on Balukh as robberyWho is Volodymyr Balukh

  • Balukh is a Crimean farmer, who was detained by Russia's FSB Federal Security Service on December 8, 2016.
  • FSB operatives claimed they had allegedly found 90 ammunition rounds and several TNT explosives in his attic.
  • It is widely believed though that security operatives had detained the man for his firm political stance: he had a Ukrainian flag flying over his house, which he refused to remove despite persistent demands of local authorities, KHPG watchdog reported.
  • On July 5, 2018, a Russian-controlled court in Crimea sentenced him to five years in a penal colony and a RUB 10,000 fine.
  • On October 3, 2018, the so-called "Supreme Court of Crimea" reviewed Balukh's original verdict and reduced his term to four years and 11 months.
  • On September 7, 2019, he was handed back to Ukraine as part of a major prisoner swap effort.