News Politics Society, 21/07/2017

Who Killed Pavlo Sheremet?

“Who killed Pavlo?” With a single question, the participants of the action in memory of the famous Ukrainian journalist’s death Pavlo Sheremet gathered in Shevchenko Park on July 20.

Kharkivites wanted to draw attention to the fact that even a year after, the law enforcers have not identified the perpetrators and persons who ordered the murder of Sheremet, a journalist who was killed because of his professional activities.

The protesters demanded to solve the murder and expressed fears that the investigation would “get hung up” for many years. They honored Sheremet’s memory with a minute of silence.

“What is happening today with the case of Pavlo Sheremet is very reminiscent of the delays in Gongadze case. We thus demand more transparent and thorough investigation. Usually, why is it delaying? Because there are people, who are not interested in its solving. Also, this delay raises questions regarding the law enforcement agencies’ professionalism,” said the organizer of the action, Kharkiv journalist in OTB Anna Prokaeva.

Pavlo Sheremet was a Belarusian-born Russian and Ukrainian journalist. The New York Times has described him as “a thorn in the side of Lukashenko’s autocratic government.” He worked on Belarusian television, but because of the conflict with the President Lukashenko’s regime, arrests and conviction by a suspended sentence, Sheremet moved to Russia where he was a reporter for Russia’s ORT television network. The last five years, Sheremet has been living in Ukraine, working as a journalist in Ukrainska Pravda and broadcaster on Radio Vesti.

A year ago on July 20, Pavlo Sheremet was murdered in a car explosion in the center of Kyiv. The police qualified the incident as a premeditated murder and announced three main versions: professional activity, personal dislike and the Russian implication in a crime.

On July 22, 2016, video from the surveillance camera that recorded the moment of explosives planting underneath the journalist’s car appeared on the Internet. Later the police reported it managed to identify the individuals from the camera.

In August 2016, the detectives found killers’ photos. On the same day, a panel member of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko came up with one of the main versions. According to it, a murder had to disorder Ukraine’s state system. Another adviser to the Interior Minister Zoryan Shkiryak stated once again that the Russian intelligence agencies are behind the assassination of Sheremet.

In February, law enforcement officers reported on the investigation’s progress. In particular, they discovered that the attackers used the elements of MON-50 anti-personnel mine. The investigation also determined the priority version of the crime — journalist’s professional activity both on the territory of Ukraine and beyond it.

Nevertheless, law enforcement agencies still do not have any answers. Yesterday, reporting on the progress of the inquiry, speaker of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Artem Shevchenko told journalists that the detectives had not found a suspect.

“If someone knows the details or some fact that can help the investigation, please report us… There is no determinate suspect or suspects,” Shevchenko said.

He also complained that the inquiry gets more complicated because of the victim’s Russian citizenship.

Yesterday Anton Gerashchenko also went on 112 Ukraine channel. He stated that those who ordered the assassination of Sheremet are in Russia.

“I personally have no doubt that the persons who ordered the hit are in the Russian Federation. There was an attempt of propaganda to pretend that law enforcement officers and volunteer battalion fighters are involved in this, which is an absolute lie. We have checked all these versions, but have not found any confirmation,” Gerashchenko said.

Other countries also monitor the inquiry noting the importance of punishing the perpetrators. In particular, the Ambassadors of Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, the United States, France and Japan wrote a joint statement. Published on the website of the Italian Embassy in Ukraine, it insists on continuing the investigation of Sheremet’s murder.

“Today marks the one year anniversary of the murder of journalist Pavlo Sheremet. On this occasion, G7 Ambassadors stress the importance of continuing the investigation into his death and bringing those responsible to justice,” the statement says.

The ambassadors also have assured that they will continue supporting media freedom in Ukraine.


Text: Anastasia Mitrofanova