June 24, 2001, in Luhansk, Ukraine
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.
Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.
- CPJ marks second anniversary of journalist's disappearance , September 13, 2002
- Attacks on the Press 2001: Ukraine, March 26, 2002