The Ukrainian town councillor whose apparent torture and murder helped to prompt a threatened new government offensive in the east was mobbed by a hostile, pro-Russia crowd before he disappeared, a video of the incident shows.
The apparent murder of Volodymyr Rybak and a second man prompted the European Union to call on Russia to use its influence to stop kidnappings and killings in mainly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, scene of separatist rebellions against Kiev's leaders.
Ukraine's security service said a rogue officer and a member of Russian military intelligence were involved in Rybak's killing.
The footage from April 17 on local news site gorlovka.ua shows angry scenes outside the town hall of Horlivka, between the separatist flashpoint cities of Donetsk and Slaviansk, as Rybak is manhandled by several men, among them a masked man in camouflage, while other people hurl abuse.
Rybak had tried to remove the flag of the separatist Donetsk Republic, the website said. "Over my dead body will you take down that flag," one man in plain clothes yells at Rybak as the politician tries to gain entry to the town hall.
Two uniformed policemen appear in the video, though only one appears to intervene, ineffectually. After several minutes, Rybak appears able to walk away. Ukraine's interior ministry said he was seen being bundled into a car by masked men in camouflage later that day. His body was found on Saturday near Slaviansk.
Rybak and another unidentified man appeared to have been tortured and dumped alive in a river to drown, police concluded.
Ukraine's acting president, who like Rybak is a member of the Batkivshchyna party led by former premier Yuliya Tymoshenko, cited the murder as grounds for relaunching a so far limited operation against militants who have taken over around a dozen towns and public buildings in the Russian-speaking east.
"Terrorists, who have effectively taken the whole Donetsk region hostage, have crossed a line, starting to torture and murder Ukrainian patriots," Oleksandr Turchynov said.