Ukraine Probes Likely Murder Of US Embassy Staffer In Kiev Park

Ukrainian authorities are investigating the shocking and mysterious death of a US Embassy employee on Wednesday

So far all that is known is that a woman was found lying unconscious near railroad tracks in a park near the city center, apparently the victim of a brutal attack, given she had a head injury, according to Reuters.

She succumbed to her wounds at a nearby hospital, after which investigators found her ID, indicating she was employed by the US embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. The US Embassy-Kyiv subsequently confirmed an American member of its staff has died under unknown circumstances.

US Embassy in Kiev file image, via Kyiv Post/Ukrafoto

A criminal investigation is underway, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Artem Shevchenko, who issued a statement in English saying it “may be a crime”. He followed with: “But may be an accident too. Body was found on railway in earphones during the jogging.”

“The unconscious woman was admitted to a hospital where she subsequently died. During the examination of the victim’s belongings, an identity card of an employee of the U.S. Embassy in her name was found,” Ukrainian police said.

Police say the investigation is focused on suspected murder and that they are seeking a suspect based on possible eyewitness accounts, described as follows:

Police are looking for a dark-haired man of 30-40, dressed in dark shorts and a T-shirt. 

Within hours after the news breaking, the US Embassy-Kyiv issued confirmation.

Central Kiev, via iStock

Little is known as to the identify of the woman, other than she was an American citizen. American embassies abroad also typically employ dozens of local workers within the host country, but the confirmation suggests she could be US diplomatic personnel, or part of another high level agency.

"We are heartbroken to report the death of an American member of the U.S. Embassy Kyiv community," an official US Embassy statement said. "Officials from U.S. Embassy Kyiv are currently working with authorities to determine the circumstances of the death."

US embassies also host a multitude of federal agencies, some in covert or clandestine capacities. Though the majority of personnel are State Dept. Foreign Service, such as diplomats, usually CIA and others like the Defense Intelligence Agency (the DoD's civilian intelligence arm that works closely with the Pentagon) also operate out of foreign embassies.