A prominent Ukrainian journalist, Pavel Sheremet, died when his car exploded in Kiev on July 20 in front of a fast-food restaurant, said The Kyiv Post. He was known as an “outspoken critic” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a prosecutor has confirmed he died from an explosive device that was planted in the car.
Imprisoned previously for his reporting, he’s called a “crusader of human rights, free speech, and press freedom.”
Sheremet was a prominent reporter for Ukrainska Pravda, an online news outlet, The Kyiv Post said. The Post said that Sheremet was killed as he drove his car at 7:45 a.m. on his way to record a radio program he hosted called Radio Vesti.
The Associated Press’ Moscow correspondent wrote on Twitter: “Sheremet was unique because his reporting has irked officials on the ex-Soviet Union’s big three: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine.” RT said Sheremet was “a well-known Russian journalist and political analyst specializing in relations between Russia and Ukraine, as well as developments in former Soviet republics.” He lived in Urkaine, and died in Kiev. A prosecutor has confirmed it was murder.
The car blew up only a few minutes after he’d turned it on, according to the news service RT. RT said the car belonged to his boss at the Ukrainska Pravda, Alyona Pritula. The car blew up in front of a McDonalds, said Ukrayinska Pravda. Pritula was not in the car; both she and Sheremet had complained about being watched, said The Moscow Times.
According to The Interpreter, Anton Gerashchenko, a member of parliament, posted on his Facebook page in Russian that Pavel Sheremet likely died from a remote-controlled explosive device placed under the car. According to The Interpreter, Gerashchenko called it a “cynical and well-planned murder” and said, “The investigation will review all possible hypotheses of the murder of Pavel Sheremet. Above all, those connected with his journalist activity. The Russian trail is not excluded.”
Photos and videos of the exploded car were widely circulated on Twitter and Facebook:
Watch a video from the scene here.
Reaction was swift on Twitter:
The Interpreter describes Sheremet as a “veteran journalist known throughout the former Soviet Union for his critical reporting” and noted that Ukraine has elections this week. According to The Interpreter, Sheremet, born in Belarus, was sent to prison for critical reporting by the Belarusian leader. He was also arrested in 1997 “while covering a story on smuggling at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. After an international outcry, he was released from prison.” He ended up fleeing to Ukraine and is a past recipient of the U.S. Based International Press Freedom Award, said the news site.