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Parcels in a logistics center: poison by post (symbolic image)

Photo: Comezora/Getty Images

BBC reporters say they have identified a Ukrainian man suspected of selling poison to people who want to commit suicide.

The substance is thought to be linked to more than 130 deaths in the UK.

Vascular pharmacology expert at Queen Mary University of London, Amrita Ahluwalia, analyzed blood and other samples from the deceased.

During the tests, she found signs that at least 133 people may have died as a result of ingestion.

After two years of research, the BBC claims to have identified a seller responsible.

Reporters caught Leonid Zakutenko in front of a post office in Kiev.

He denied the allegations.

Delivery promise

The researchers discovered him through a suicide website that discussed the "Ukrainian supplier."

It said the trader sends the chemical from Kiev all over the world.

The journalists found Zakutenko through his online shop, email address and PayPal account.

In January 2022, the BBC reporters said they contacted him by posing as interested buyers on the suicide forum.

Zakutenko responded quickly and confirmed that he could deliver the requested chemicals.

The BBC does not provide any information about the name of the website or the substance involved.

When the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine began the following month, researchers initially assumed that the deal would no longer go through.

Murder charges in Canada

In May 2023, the website and chemical hit the headlines when another man whose name had frequently appeared on the forum was arrested: Kenneth Law, a former aerospace engineer who most recently worked as a chef.

Law was arrested in Canada on suspicion of “advising and assisting suicide” and charged with 14 counts of murder.

He is said to have sent “suicide kits” to more than 40 countries.

Prosecutors in Canada say it is linked to more than 100 deaths.

The reporters then contacted Zakutenko again, reports the BBC.

He boasted that he was now sending “five parcels a week” to Great Britain and that he could offer an express service.

Visit to Kyiv

In January, the journalists made their way to Kiev to meet the man under a pretext.

Upon their arrival, Zakutenko informed them that he was out of town.

The reporters did not find Zakutenko at his address, a high-rise building on the outskirts of the city.

They discovered that the post office from which poison had been sent was within walking distance.

more on the subject

  • Ruling of the Federal Administrative Court: Seriously ill plaintiffs are not allowed to buy medication for suicide

  • Trial in the Netherlands: Man convicted of selling “suicide kits”.

  • Suicides in the GDR: suicide as a state secret by Solveig Grothe

The reporters contacted him again, pretending to be a British buyer who urgently needed the fabric.

He then promised to send it within an hour of paying for his “express” service.

Several hours later, a man who had similarities to photos of Zakutenko on social media came out of the apartment block with a large black bag and went to the post office.

There he sent at least 15 packages to different recipients.

Shortly thereafter, reporters received the tracking number for their order.

Authorities informed

In front of the post office, they confronted Zakutenko with the help of an interpreter and wanted to know why he was sending the poison to people.

The Ukrainian spoke of a “lie,” put his hand on the camera and tried to walk away.

The BBC said the authorities in Great Britain and Ukraine had been informed about the case.

The forum is still active.

According to the British government, a new law allows action against these types of websites.

However, the implementing regulations would probably only be issued in a few months.