Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is deeply shocked to learn that the well-known journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed at around 7:45 a.m. today by the blast from a bomb placed under the driver’s seat of the car he was driving in central Kiev.
“We offer our condolences to Pavel Sheremet’s family, friends and colleagues,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “A full and independent investigation must be carried out to shed all possible light on this appalling crime.”
The recipient of many awards, Sheremet began his journalistic career in Belarus, the country of his birth, where he helped to set up several independent media outlets. A critic of President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, he spent several months in jail before moving to Russia.
He resigned from his Russian TV job in 2014, criticizing the Kremlin’s propaganda about Ukraine, to which he had relocated. Of late he had working in Kiev for Radio Vesti and the news website Ukrayinska Pravda.
It is not clear whether Sheremet was the bomb’s target because the car belonged to his partner, Ukrayinska Pravda owner Olena Prytula. The site is well known for being independent and for investigating corruption and other sensitive subjects. It had already paid a high price for its commitment to media freedom because its founder, Georgiy Gongadze, was murdered in 2000.
Ukraine is ranked 107th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index. RSF published a report about the situation of the media in Ukraine last month.