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Ukraine probes Russia activist's disappearance

This undated video image provided by the Associated Press Television News shows Leonid Razvozzhayev speaking in an undisclosed location. (AP Photo/APTN)

KIEV: Ukraine's security service said Friday it was conducting a formal check into the disappearance of a Russian opposition activist who claimed to have been abducted from Ukraine by Russian agents.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said in a statement that it was looking into the "urgent departure" of Leonid Razvozzhayev, who is now in a Moscow prison after being charged with plotting mass riots.

"The Security Service of Ukraine is conducting a check into the reasons for L. Razvozzhayev's arrival in Ukraine, the legitimacy and status of his stay in our country, and the circumstances and purpose of his urgent departure for Russia," it said in a statement.

The United Nations refugee agency has said that Razvozzhayev disappeared in Kiev shortly after visiting its office for advice on seeking asylum in Ukraine.

Razvozzhayev told rights activists he was kidnapped by a group of masked men who drove him across the Russian border and held him prisoner for several days, depriving him of food and water and making threats to kill his family.

Russia has strongly denied abducting Razvozzhayev and claimed that the activist had voluntarily turned himself in to its main investigative body in Moscow to confess to the charge.

His lawyer said Thursday that he had retracted his confession, saying it was given under pressure.

The campaigner is an activist in the Left Front movement led by a far-left foe of President Vladimir Putin, Sergei Udaltsov, who himself was charged on Friday with plotting mass riots.

Russia this month launched a probe into allegations aired on a pro-Kremlin channel that the activists were fomenting mass uprisings to be funded by a Georgian lawmaker.

 

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