A criminal investigation has been launched into the death of a Ukrainian orchestra conductor in Russian-occupied Kherson, according to Ukrainian officials.
The conductor was reportedly shot in his own home in Kherson by Russian forces "because he refused to cooperate with them," a statement from the local prosecutor's office said Friday.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy identified the conductor as Yuriy Kerpatenko of the Kherson Regional Philharmonic Orchestra.
According to the ministry, Kerpatenko had worked with the local philharmonic since 2000 and also served as the chief conductor of the Gilea Chamber Orchestra based at the Kherson Theater in 2004.
Paying tribute, the ministry said Kerpatenko had "openly demonstrated his civic position and refused to leave occupied Kherson."
The prosecutor's office did not specify when the killing happened, but said, "the deceased stopped contacting relatives in September of this year."
"The Kherson Regional Prosecutor's Office conducts procedural management in criminal proceedings initiated based on violations of the laws and customs of war, combined with intentional murder," the statement added.
The Kherson region, seen as crucial to controlling Ukraine’s southern coast and access to the Black Sea, was one of the first areas to be occupied by Russian forces when they invaded more than six months ago.