Nearly two years after journalist Pavel Sheremet was murdered, Ukraine is hardly closer to bringing his killers to justice. Now, Olena Prytula — the owner of the Ukrainska Pravda news site and Sheremet’s partner — has called on the authorities to treat Sheremet’s assassination as a terrorist attack.
In a letter to Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko published on Ukrainska Pravda’s site, Prytula suggests that Sheremet’s murder was intended to create a “psychological effect in the form of spreading panic and reducing [people’s] certitude in their own safety.”
Photo credit: UNIAN
“An obvious goal of the terrorists was to scare journalists, since Pavel was a famous journalist in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. He was stripped of his Belarusian citizenship due to his criticism of the Belarusian government. In Ukraine, he made hard-hitting reports for Ukrainska Pravda and Radio Vesti,” the February 27 letter says.
On July 20, 2016, Sheremet’s car exploded in downtown Kyiv as he was on his way to work. Security camera footage later revealed two individuals had planted a bomb under the automobile.
A renowned journalist, Sheremet was known as a critic of the authorities his native Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. He started his career in the 1990s working for the newspaper Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta and then heading the Belarusian Bureau of Russian Public Television. Sheremet spent three months in prison for speaking out against the policies of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko.
In 1999, Sheremet went to work for Russia’s ORT state television channel in Moscow. He spent over a decade as a journalist in Russia.
Then, in 2012, Sheremet moved to Ukraine, fearing the Kremlin growing crackdown on the free press. There, he worked for Ukrainska Pravda, television channels TVi and Channel 24, and Radio Vesti. In 2002, he was awarded the OSCE Prize for Democracy and the Protection of Human Rights in the field of journalism.
Sheremet’s assassination is currently being treated as premeditated murder committed in a manner that posed a danger to multiple lives. In her letter, Prytula stressed that 20 months of criminal investigation have still brought no result in the muder case.
“Neither the killers, nor the organizers of the murder have been identified,” she wrote.
/By Maria Romanenko