Pavel Sheremet, an outstanding Belarusian journalist, was killed by a car bomb in central Kiev. Pavel worked for Ukrayinska Pravda, Ukrainian online investigative newspaper, and on Wednesday morning, when the murder took place, was driving to work in the car of newspaper’s owner.
Two witnesses said they had heard a loud blast and saw an explosion from underneath the car, which lay charred in the middle of the street.
— RT (@RT_com) July 20, 2016
According to Zoryan Shkiryak, advisor to the Ukrainian interior minister, an improvised explosive device was planted underneath the car. He supposes that the device was either a delayed-action bomb or was remotely operated. The bomb is reported to have contained up to the equivalent of 600 grams of TNT.
Prominent Ukrainian authorities pay tribute to Sheremet.
“I’m in shock, I don’t know what to say. It is a matter of honour for the police to investigate the case,” said the head of the national police force, Khatia Dekanoidze. “I will personally take charge of the case.”
Ukraine’s prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, posted a message on Facebook saying: “The day has begun with terrible news. The prominent Ukrainian journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed this morning.”
The editor of Ukrainska Pravda, Sevgil Musaieva-Borovyk, shares the opinion that Sheremet was killed for his “professional activity.”
“Why do they kill journalists in Ukraine? Someone wants to destabilise the situation in the country by doing this,” the editor said.
Current President Petro Poroshenko offered his condolences to Sheremet’s friends and family and said he has instructed law-enforcement agencies to conduct “a speedy investigation into this crime.”
Pavel Sheremet was born in Minsk, Belarus, on November 28, 1971. He was editor-in-chief of the popular independent weekly, Belarus Business News, as well as anchor and producer of Prospekt, a news analysis program on Belarusian state television that was later banned by the president.
Sheremet disapproved of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko’s crackdown on dissent and in 1997 was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison. The move was mostly viewed as politically motivated.
Later, while living abroad, Sheremet launched Belaruspartisan.org, the country’s leading independent news website.
Sheremet left for Ukraine as he felt pressure from his Russian television bosses over the reporting of ongoing opposition protests in Kiev.
Ukrainska Pravda, Sheremet worked for, is Ukraine’s most-famous investigative website. In 2000, it became the center of attention as its co-founder, Georgiy Gongadze, was kidnapped and beheaded. Three years later, the court convicted a police officer of the murder, but the police didn’t find out who had ordered the hit.