Third ally of ousted Ukraine leader Yanukovych found dead

A key ally of former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych was found dead after an apparent suicide Thursday in the third such case in two weeks.

Kiev: A key ally of former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych was found dead after an apparent suicide Thursday in the third such case in two weeks.

Police said Oleksandr Peklushenko, former governor of the eastern industrial region of Zaporizhzhya, was found dead in his country home after suffering a fatal gunshot wound to the neck.

"A preliminary finding by investigators is suicide," Ukraine`s home affairs ministry said in a statement.

He was the second pro-Yanukovych official to apparently shoot himself this week. A third Yanukovych ally allegedly threw himself from his 17th-storey flat in Kiev two weeks ago.

Peklushenko, a former member of parliament and leading official in Yanukovych`s Party of the Regions, was stripped of his governorship when the former president fled to Russia after his February 2014 ouster.

He was under judicial investigation for crushing pro-EU protests in Zaporizhzhya.

On Monday to Tuesday evening, Stanislav Melnik, also a former member of the Party of the Regions, was found dead in the bath by his wife after apparently shooting himself with a rifle.

He was facing charges of abuse of power.

Late February, police said former lawmaker Mykhaylo Chechetov died after falling from his apartment window.

Chechetov, one of the most prominent politicians under Yanukovych`s rule, was facing criminal charges for abuse of power over attempts to crush protests that eventually toppled his former boss.

Investigators said his wife found a note from the 61-year-old "saying he did not have the moral strength left to keep on living and asking for forgiveness and understanding".

Several hours before Chechetov`s death, Ukraine`s prosecutor general told local television that new charges were being prepared against the former MP.

Yanukovych and many of his key lieutenants live in exile in Russia after fleeing Ukraine when security forces gunned down scores of protesters in central Kiev.

Ukraine blames Yanukovych for the killings and has also charged him with corruption after his lavish lifestyle was laid bare following his fall from power.

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