Pavel Sheremet

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Sergei Chusavkov/AP

Pavel Sheremet was killed in Kiev on July 20, 2016, when an explosive device detonated under the car he was driving. He was 44 years old.

Sheremet, who wrote for the independent news website Ukrainska Pravda, was driving to the offices of the independent broadcaster Radio Vesti, where he also hosted a morning radio show, when the car he was driving exploded, Ukrainska Pravda reported. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy V. Lutsenko said that a car bomb had caused the explosion, according to press reports. Sheremet was a 1998 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko condemned Sheremet's murder, requested that top law enforcement officials personally oversee the probe, and urged them to seek assistance from the FBI and other international law enforcement experts, according to a statement on the president's website.

According to reports in the local and international press, investigators said that they were investigating Sheremet's journalism as the primary motive in a case of premeditated murder. Authorities also said they were investigating the possibility that the killers had sought to kill Alena Pritula, owner and former editor ofUkrainska Pravda, whose car Sheremet was driving when he died, Ukrainska Pravda reported. Poroshenko ordered law enforcement agencies to place Pritula under protection, Ukrainska Pravda said.

Sheremet's friends told journalists that he and Pritula had complained of being followed in Kiev. Sheremet told Reuters in October 2015 that he did not feel safe visiting Moscow, where had previously worked as a journalist.

"I'm threatened often and given hints. Every time I go to Moscow, it's like I'm in a minefield," he told the news agency.

In his work for Ukrainska Pravda, Sheremet commented on political developments in Ukraine, Russia, and his native Belarus. In the weeks before his murder, he had written about Ukrainian volunteer battalion fighters' joining criminal gangs after leaving the militias, petty corruption among police in Belarus, alleged corruption among Ukrainian government officials and police, and the work of Russian government propagandists.

Sheremet was originally from Belarus. He was producer and anchor of a weekly news and analysis show called Prospekt on Belarus state TV's Channel 1 for a year, until President Aleksandr Lukashenko's government ordered it off the air in April 1995.

In 1995, Sheremet began working for the Russian broadcaster ORT, and that year won the Belarus PEN Center's Adamovich Prize as best television reporter in Belarus. He edited independent Belarussian newspaper Belarusskaya Delovaya Gazeta. In 1997, Belarussian authorities jailed him for three months in connection to his reporting, and stripped him of his citizenship in 2010.

In an October 18, 2016, interview with the news agency Ukrinform, Ukraine's deputy police chief, Vadim Troyan said, "Definitely, there has been progress" in the case, but did not provide further details on the grounds that it could harm the investigation.


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