FBI Already Assisting Sheremet Murder Investigation; Ukraine Reports 70 Attacks Yesterday

July 21, 2016
Remains of the car in which Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed by a bomb yesterday morning. Photo: Ukrainska Pravda

Ukraine Day 885: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.


An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


Ukrainian Investigators Say Sheremet Was Target in Car; Surveillance Tape Shows Perpetrator Placing Bomb

Investigators say journalist Pavel Sheremet, killed by a car bomb yesterday in Kiev, was the target of the perpetrators, ZN.ua and Ukraynska Pravda reported.
Sheremet, a Belarusian journalist with Russian citizenship who worked for the last few years as a writer for Ukraynska Pravda and radio host for Vesti [News] in Kiev was on his way to the radio station when the explosive device under the driver’s seat went off. The car is owned by Sheremet’s common-law wife Olena Prytula, head of Ukraynska Pravda, so there continues to be speculation that she may have been the target. But police say that Sheremet drove the same car to the radio five days a week, and his routine was likely known to the killers.
ZN.ua reported, citing a source in law-enforcement, that preliminary examination of the remains of the car as well as an autopsy of Sheremet’s body indicate that the IED was intended for the driver, and not anyone else in the front or back seat. Said the source (translation by The Interpreter):

“The calculation was precise and knowledgeable. The explosives were laid exactly as much as would be needed only for the driver, and would not injure anyone nearby. If the wave of the explosion had gone downward, it would have been essentially extinguished in the ground, but it went upward and to the left. This was a hunt exclusively for the victim of the murder.

If there had been passengers in the car, they would have likely survived. This indicates that the calculation was strictly to destroy the driver’s seat and not the entire car.”

An autopsy showed that Sheremet suffered injuries “incompatible with life”. The source said:

“Explosive bomb trauma, death ensured from a great, rapid and critical (1-2 minutes) loss of blood and shock. There were no chances.”

Investigators also found a surveillance video camera near Sheremet’s home recorded the moment when an unidentified person placed the explosive under Prytula’s car, on the night of July 19-20. 
While it appears that the killer targeted Sheremet, investigators were exploring whether Prytula was the garget, Ukraynska Pravda reported yesterday, July 20.
A wake for Sheremet is planned at the Ukrainian House on Friday, January 22, at 11:00.
A Russian Orthodox funeral service is planned in Minsk for July 23 at the All Saints Cathedral  from 11:00 to 14:00, and Sheremet will be buried at the Northern Cemetery in Minsk on Saturday, July 24 at 14:30.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

FBI Already Assisting Sheremet Murder Investigation; Ukraine Reports 70 Attacks Yesterday

The US State Department has confirmed that the FBI has begun assisting the Ukrainian investigation into Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet’s murder yesterday.

State Department spokesman John Kirby released the following statement:

We are shocked and saddened by the killing of Ukrainska Pravda journalist Pavel Sheremet in a car bombing in Kyiv. We join the government of Ukraine in support of a full and impartial investigation that will bring those responsible to justice.

Mr. Sheremet, a Belarusian citizen, served as an example to journalists in the region through his courageous and tenacious reporting. He played a crucial role in Ukraine’s democracy, reporting on issues important to the public, including corruption and governance. Mr. Sheremet’s killing must not be tolerated in a free and democratic society. We welcome the statements by the police and prosecutor general that the act will be fully investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun to assist Ukrainian authorities with their investigation.

We extend our sympathies to Mr. Sheremet’s partner, Olena Prytula, his family, and his colleagues at Ukrainska Pravda.

Five Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in the Donbass yesterday.

Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters today that all of the casualties were the result of enemy fire.

According to Lysenko, one soldier was wounded in Stanitsa Luganskaya, two in Zaytsevo, one in Novgorodskoye and another in Verkhnetoretskoye.

The Ukrainian military claims that Russian-backed forces conducted 70 attacks over the course of the day.

According to this morning’s ATO Press Center report, most of the attacks took place near Donetsk, Gorlovka and Mariupol. Six attacks were reported in the Lugansk region.

Russian-backed forces reportedly used 122-mm artillery in attacks on Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk, and the villages of Vodyanoye and Talakovka, outside Mariupol. Mortars were used across the front line.

The pro-separatist Donetsk News Agency (DAN) reports that a civilian has been wounded by Ukrainian shelling.

According to DAN, a woman, born in 1947, received shrapnel wounds after Ukrainian shells fell in the western Petrovsky district of Donets 

The self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic has also claimed that at least 12 homes were damaged on the southern fringes of Zaytsevo, outside Gorlovka. 

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have released a joint report on arbitrary detentions and torture by both sides in the conflict.

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Ukraine: Torture, Disappearances in East

Both the Ukrainian government authorities and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine are holding civilians in prolonged, arbitrary, and sometimes secret detention and torturing them, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today. People in eastern Ukraine who are being seized and hidden away by the warring sides are at the mercy of their captors.

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Jul 21, 2016 12:37 (GMT)

A week ago, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report detailing killings of both captured soldiers and civilians during the war.

The Ukrainian delegation to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) have accused their Russian counterparts of sabotaging efforts to repair civilian infrastructure.

Vadim Bakay, press officer for the Ukrainian delegation at the Center, which consists of representatives from both the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces and is tasked with trying to ensure ceasefire compliance, said today:

“Unfortunately it must be put on record that the Russian side has recently adopted the destructive position of a ‘passive onlooker’ on issues of helping the local population in carrying out repair work.”

Bakay said that the Russian side had failed to assist with the restoration of power supplies in Avdeyevka by failing to get guarantees of security from Russian-backed forces who are shelling the town.

— Pierre Vaux