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94-Year-Old Ex-Soviet Officer Faces Ukraine Probe For 1952 Killing

(JTA) — Prosecutors in Ukraine initiated a murder investigation against a Jewish former Soviet officer who is suspected of killing a nationalist in 1952.

The General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine opened the probe against 94-year-old Boris Steckler on April 18, the Ist Pravda news website reported last week based on documents it obtained from the National Advocacy Center, a nationalist and anti-Russian not-for-profit group.

Steckler is accused of killing Neil Hasevych, an artist who was a member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, or OUN, which fought during the first half of the 20th century against Soviet domination. Leaders of OUN briefly collaborated with Nazi occupation forces before turning against them.

Steckler is accused of throwing a grenade into a bunker where Hasevych and several other underground fighters were hiding. His accusers claim he was working for the feared NKVD security service, which later became the KGB.

Nationalist groups in Ukraine have for years tried to prosecute Steckler. Last year, the Rivne District Administrative Court began reviewing a lawsuit connected to Steckler that nationalists brought against Ukraine’s SBU security service. The petitioners wanted the SBU to release old classified files about Steckler.

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