It is not yet possible to visit Volodymyr Balukh / Photo from UNIAN

Co-chairman of the European Solidarity parliamentary faction, Member of Parliament Iryna Gerashchenko says former Russian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh has been transferred to neurosurgery after a recent assault.

"Really good news from V. Balukh's doctors: today, after more than a month in intensive care, Volodymyr is being transferred to neurosurgery. He still does not fully understand what happened to him, where he is... It is not yet possible to visit Volodymyr, including because of the quarantine and the risk of COVID since it is very dangerous for him," the lawmaker wrote on Facebook.

Read alsoPolice classify assault on Balukh as robberyAssault 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 had been 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 serious but stable condition.
  • On September 11, Balukh was put in a medically induced coma.
  • On September 18, police detained a suspect in the assault on Balukh.
  • On September 19, the court ruled to arrest the suspect for two months without the possibility of posting bail.
  • On October 5, Gerashchenko said Balukh had regained consciousness.

Who 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 over to Ukraine as part of a major prisoner swap effort.