Breus, publisher of the regional weekly XXI Vek in the provincial city of Luhansk, was shot dead at approximately 11 p.m. while driving up to his house accompanied by his wife and a friend.
As Breus exited his car, he was shot four or five times in the head and back at point-blank range. Neither passenger was harmed.
Eyewitnesses heard the shots and saw two men fleeing, one of them holding a pistol. The Luhansk weekly Kuryer reported that both perpetrators left in a car that was parked nearby.
The motive for the murder remains unclear. As publisher of XXI Vek, Breus was mainly responsible for financial matters. He had other business interests apart from the newspaper and also held a senior position in the regional Communist Party of Workers and Peasants.
XXI Vek editor Yuri Yurov told CPJ that the newspaper generally reflected Breus’ political positions and business interests.
Local police have launched an investigation into Breus’ murder. At year’s end, a confidential source told CPJ that there is some evidence linking Breus’ murder to both his business interests and to material published in XXI Vek.