Kiev’s ambassador to Thailand was highly critical of Russian foreign policy and the disastrous effects of the Kremlin’s actions towards Ukraine including the economic loss and the human misery inflicted in a war triggered by the 2014 revolution and which is still going on. While initial reports on the death and preliminary medical analysis from Satun province suggest a heart attack, this is also how poisoning by Russian agents in the last seventeen years, from London to Siberia, has manifested itself starting with the victims suffering violent vomiting. Thai authorities have, however, at this time, ruled out any Covid-19 link to the envoy’s untimely death. 

The sudden death of the Ukrainian ambassador to Thailand, Andrii Beshta, on Sunday, has led Thai officials to fly the body back to Bangkok for a comprehensive autopsy. A preliminary medical finding in Satun province was that the top diplomat died from a heart attack as Governor Ekarat Leesen specifically ruled out any link to the Covid-19 virus. Mr Beshta was only 45 years old. His sudden seizure and death, in the early hours of Sunday morning, is also bound to raise speculation that he may have been the target of poisoning based on his country’s state of war with Russia and the track record of Russian intelligence agencies.

(Inset) The body of the Ukrainian ambassador to Thailand, Andrii Beshta, was taken, on Sunday morning, to Satun Hospital on the mainland after he awoke at his hotel on Ko Lipe and began vomiting before losing consciousness and passing away. He had been on Ko Lipe for a holiday with his 17-year-old son since May 28th. Mr Beshta has been ambassador to Thailand since 2015 and has been a tireless advocate of deeper bilateral ties between Thailand and Ukraine as well as a vociferous critic of Russia which is currently at war with his country.

The body of the Ukrainian ambassador to Thailand was, on Sunday, being transported back to Bangkok where a comprehensive and exhaustive autopsy is to be carried out following the sudden death of the diplomat on the tourist island of Ko Lipe in the early hours.

Andrii Beshta was appointed ambassador in 2015 arriving to take charge of the mission in 2016. He was first posted to the kingdom in 2007 and was promoted in 2011. 

Travelled to Ko Lipe in the South for a holiday on Thursday, May 28th with his 17 year old son

He had travelled to the island in the Andaman Sea, off Satun province, on Thursday 28th with his 17-year-old son Ostap.

The two had stayed in the 3 star Bunga Resort near Pattaya Beach sharing a room.

Mr Beshta’s son told police who responded to an emergency call at 5.30 am on Sunday that he had retired to bed on Saturday night at 11 pm but awoke at 4.30 am and began vomiting violently. He suddenly lost consciousness and died shortly afterwards.

Police Captain Bidan Saripa of Ko Lipe police told reporters that there was no sign of any break in within the diplomat’s room nor were there any signs of violence or foul play.

Remains transported to the mainland of Satun

Arrangements were made to transport the body to Satun Hospital back on the mainland where Governor Ekarat Leesen was on hand as the remains were handed over for a preliminary examination.

‘Preliminary investigations showed no signs of him being attacked, no signs of a raid or violence,’ said Governor Ekarat afterwards as the hospital suggested that Ambassador Beshta appeared to have died from a heart attack.

The provincial chief told reporters that a preliminary autopsy carried out on the body had reached this conclusion. 

He specifically also ruled out the possibility that the Ukrainian diplomat’s death was in any way linked to the Covid-19 virus.

‘We ruled out 100% that he died of Covid,’ Governor Ekarat emphasised.

Joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs straight from university in 1998, first posted to Thailand in 2007

Ambassador Beshta graduated from Lviv State University in 1998 with a degree in International Relations and almost immediately joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ukraine which had gained independence after the USSR collapsed in 1991. He first served at the UN in New York.

It is understood that a full and comprehensive autopsy will be performed on the body in Bangkok.

Mr Beshta was outspoken, even in Bangkok, about the actions of Russia towards his country and its efforts to destabilise it since 2014.

Ambassador Beshta was forthright and highly critical of Russia’s destructive impact on his country

In a 2019 interview with Bangkok magazine Big Chilli he said: ‘Although the war is no longer anymore in the daily news headlines of the world, I want people to know it still takes a lethal toll every single day. Since the start of Russian aggression back in 2014 about 14,000 Ukrainians have died, and many times more have been wounded. The casualties include large numbers of women and children. This is happening right now, in Europe, in the 21st century. Moscow makes our children orphans. It tortures our patriots in its prisons – dozens of Ukrainians are illegally imprisoned in Russia or occupied Crimea on politically motivated charges. Since 2014, over 1.5 million people in Ukraine have become internally displaced as they had to flee from occupied Crimea and Donbas. They don’t know when they will be able to return to their homes.’

In his career, the diplomat oversaw a bilateral trade agreement between Ukraine and Thailand in 2018 and acknowledged the importance of Thailand to Ukraine as one of its biggest trade partners in Southeast Asia. 

Ukraine is currently at war with Russia, history of international incidents linking Russia with poisoning

The sudden death of Ukraine’s top representative in Thailand will inevitably become the focus of speculation due to the current tensions and state of war that exists between the Ukraine and Russia, at this time, as well the latter state’s history of using poison against its enemies abroad in an unacknowledged campaign.

This includes the poisoning in the United Kingdom of former Russian military officer and UK double agent, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in 2018 in the English cathedral city of Salisbury. That incident alarmed the international community and led to sanctions against Russia.

Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer, was a double agent for the British intelligence agencies. He was found unconscious with his daughter on 4th March 2018.

Both survived the ordeal but not without intensive treatment in hospital where they were both in a critical condition for some time with their survival in question after being poisoned by a designer agent called Novichok.

British police and intelligence agents tracked the source of the Russian poison to a perfume bottle

British investigators tracked the source of the Novichok poison used to a perfume bottle used by Ms Yulia and identified the Russian agents involved after they flew in from Russia and returned there again where they are currently being protected by Russian authorities. 

Former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko murdered in London in 2006 by polonium poisoning in a tea cup

It followed the horrific story of Alexander Litvinenko who became ill on the 1st November 2006 after meeting a Russian agent at a hotel in London who administered a lethal dose of polonium, 200 times the lethal amount, to the former KGB officer in a cup of tea.

Mr Litvenko, a former FSB official, had earlier published information detailing how Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the pinnacle of power within the Russian Federation through an FSB coup.

The FSB is the Russian Federal Security Service and successor to the communist era KGB.

Victim experienced sudden nausea and vomiting

Mr Litvenko experienced sudden vomiting and other symptoms on the 1st of November and was taken to hospital where it was quickly discovered that he had been poisoned.

He was moved into specialist care at another medical facility to identify the nature of the substance.

Doctors, three weeks later, as the infected Russian lay dying, conclusively identified it as a massive dose of radioactive polonium-210.

On the 22nd November 2006, Mr Litvinenko passed away from what appeared to be a heart attack caused by the poison.

Murder suspect identified as Mr Andrey Lugovoy who was later elected to the Russian State Duma

The FSB agent, identified by British intelligence sources as the man who is suspected of murdering Mr Litvenko, is Mr Andrey Lugovoy.

He was the subject of a May 2007 extradition request submitted to Russia by the UK Foreign Office.

He was not arrested, indeed far from it.

Later, elected as a deputy to Russia’s State Duma because of his notoriety, the former agent had a chilling message for Russian enemies and defectors to western countries in March 2018.

‘Something constantly happens to Russian citizens who either run away from Russian justice or for some reason choose for themselves a way of life they call a change of their Motherland. So the more Britain accepts on its territory every good-for-nothing, every scum from all over the world, the more problems they will have,’ he said.

Russian lawyer and dissident Alexei Navalny suffered extreme vomiting on an internal flight last year

Last year, in September, Russian lawyer and dissident, Alexei Navalny, suffered a similar attack in Russia. He survived only after being transported by an emergency air ambulance service directly to Germany with the grudging acceptance of Russian authorities under pressure from the international community. 

The Russian activist had begun to vomit onboard a plane flight from Siberia to Moscow.

The poison, confirmed later by German experts and officials, had been administered through his underwear at his hotel that morning in Siberia, an admission made by a Russian intelligence officer later in a call in which he was duped into thinking he was speaking to his superiors.

He later returned to Moscow to fight the regime of Vladimir Putin where he is now imprisoned and his organisation facing a brutal crackdown.

War and conflict that has already claimed over 13,000 lives and which may be about to get worse

Russia has been at war with Ukraine since the Ukrainian revolution of 2014 which exiled pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych, and installed pro-western Viktor Yushchenko who was also a victim of a Russian poisoning attempt in 2004 during a critical election campaign.

In 2014, Russia invaded and annexed the strategically important Crimean peninsula while also declaring its support for two separatist enclaves in Eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic which has plunged the region into an on/off violent conflict that has claimed over thirteen thousand lives.

Ukraine is 77.8% Ukrainian and 17.8% Russian as well as being over 87% Christian within the orthodox tradition.

Russia has been using the minority population in the country to create division and there are strong concerns that it may be ready to ignite another conflagration to move again against Ukraine with reports of massive troop build-ups and exercises in recent months.

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