Man killed by Belarusian KGB in shootout was US citizen, reports claim

Minsk Belarus

A MAN WHO WAS killed earlier this week by the intelligence service of Belarus worked for an American software company and may have been a citizen of the United States, according to some reports. Belarusian media reported late on Tuesday that an armed man had died in a shootout in the capital Minsk, which also left an intelligence officer dead and another one wounded. The man had allegedly opened fire with a hunting rifle against members of the Belarusian state security service —known as the KGB. After the man was shot dead, his wife was reportedly taken into custody.

Late on Tuesday, state television stations aired video footage showing plainclothes KGB officers storming an apartment and coming under heavy fire from inside the premises. In a statement issued on Thursday, the KGB did not identify the man, which it described as a “31-year-old terrorist”, and said he had been “liquidated with return fire”, after resisting arrest and shooting at the KGB officers in Minsk. But some media reports cited a member of the exiled opposition, who identified the deceased as Andrei Zeltser and said he worked for the American software company Epam Systems. Other reports suggested that Zeltser was a citizen of the United States, but this has not been confirmed.

Also on Thursday, the Belarusian state-owned news agency Belta claimed that the dead man was a member of the opposition movement, which views the country’s authoritarian President, Alexander Lukashenko, as illegitimate. Later on the same day, it was reported that the KGB had arrested at least 50 people for “insulting a government official” or “inciting social hatred”. Opposition figures claimed that the arrests were connected to comments in support of Zeltser that appeared on social media.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 01 October 2021 | Permalink

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