A corruption-fighting journalist has been killed after the car he was driving blew up in the middle of the street.
Award-winning writer Pavel Sheremet had only just started driving the car that belonged to his editor in downtown Kiev when it exploded.
Sheremet was pulled alive from the smoking vehicle but died a few minutes later. CCTV video (shown below) captured the moment of the explosion.
According to local media the car belonged to his employer, the head of Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper Olena Prytula,
The Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office said the cause of the explosion was apparently a bomb.
Ukrainian MP and aide to the Interior Minister, Anton Gerashchenko, said: “No doubt the blast was caused by an explosive device planted by criminals. Evidently, the bomb had either a frequency-induction fuse or it was a clock-operated bomb.”
The explosion occurred in the early morning rush hour after the journalist had driven only a few dozen meters. It is unclear whether the journalist or his editor were the targets of the explosive device.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko offered his condolences in a Twitter post saying he was “shocked” and “has no other words”. He added that he knew the journalist personally.
Ukrainskaya Pravda was founded in 2000 by Pritula and Georgy Gongadze, who was assassinated on 17 September, 2000.
Pavel Sheremet and Olena Prytula had complained of being followed, according to independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: “This is a contemptible murder. The authorities must now act swiftly and efficiently to bring the killers to justice.
“There can be no more impunity for the killing of journalists. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Pavel and to all journalists in the region. We will do everything we can to ensure this senseless killing does not go unpunished”.
EFJ president Mogens Blicher Bjerregård said: “Pavel Sheremet was an award-winning journalist and a crusader for media freedom. His assassination reminds us that the safety situation for journalists in Ukraine is still a major concern. We call on Ukrainian authorities to guarantee freedom of expression and of the press in the country”.
Sheremet was a well-known journalist and political analyst specialising in relations between Russia and Ukraine, as well as developments in former Soviet republics.
He had been critical of authorities in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine in his articles and broadcast pieces.
He started his career in Belarus, where he was imprisoned after covering corruption in the government of President Aleksander Lukashenko.