U.S. embassy worker in Ukraine dies after suspected park assault

Investigators work at the scene of the accident following the death of an employee of the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, who was found unconscious by railway tracks in a park in Kyiv, Ukraine September 30, 2020. Courtesy of Facebook/Chief of the Department of Communications of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Artem Shevchenko/Social Media via REUTERS

By Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets

KYIV (Reuters) – An American woman working at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv died after a suspected assault in a park near the mission, authorities said, and a search was underway for the possible perpetrator.

Ukrainian police said a passerby found the woman unconscious with a head injury, wearing running gear and headphones in the area of western Kyiv. She was taken to hospital, where she died.

Police added they were seeking a dark-haired man aged between 30-40, who wore dark shorts and a T-shirt, and may have been involved in beating the American woman.

In a statement, the U.S. embassy, which employs about 181 Americans and more than 560 locals, said it was working with Ukrainian authorities to determine what happened.

The woman’s identity and job were not given.

Interior Ministry spokesman Artem Shevchenko posted pictures of the scene on Facebook, showing the woman had been found by railway tracks next to a wooded area.

“The National Police of Ukraine is investigating her death as a deliberate murder … but an accidental death is not ruled out. The body was in sports clothes and wearing headphones,” he said in a statement.

The Ukrainian ambassador to Washington, Volodymyr Yelchenko, urged quick resolution and prosecution.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Gareth Jones, Timothy Heritage, Alexandra Hudson and Andrew Cawthorne)

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