Son of Ousted Ukrainian Leader Killed in Russia, Party Says

The younger son of the deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has died in Russia, his former party said.

Viktor Yanukovych, 33, was a former member of parliament who loved “speed and extreme” activities, the Party of Regions said in a statement on its website on Monday. “He was ready to the end to defend his civic position and the ideals that were close to his heart.”

The former president’s son drowned when his car went through ice on Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia’s RBK newspaper and Ukrainian newspaper Levyi Bereg reported on Sunday, citing unidentified people close to the deposed president.

“Viktor drove his car on the ice with his seat belt fastened and, as the car leaned to the driver’s side, he lost precious seconds to unbuckle himself,” Anton Gerashchenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and an Interior Ministry adviser, said on Facebook, citing several unidentified people with access to witnesses.

Russian police and the Emergencies Ministry branch in Irkutsk declined to comment, and the Investigative Committee didn’t answer phones.

Unlike his elder brother Oleksandr, Viktor Yanukovych opposed his father’s strong measures against protesters in Kiev in 2014 and Ukraine pressed no criminal charges against him, Gerashchenko said in his statement.

The Kremlin-backed president was driven from power in February last year and went into exile in Russia with his family. His ouster sparked Russia’s decision to annex Crimea and led pro-Russian rebels to fight for control of areas in Ukraine’s industrial eastern heartland known as Donbas.

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