The activist, Volodymyr Honcharenko, died in a hospital on Aug. 3, two days after two men beat him with a blunt iron object after their car collided with his near Dnipropetrovsk, according to police reports.
Whether Honcharenko’s murder is connected with his role as a whistleblower is under investigation. His death is mourned by those who say Ukraine has lost a strong voice on environmental issues.
“The topics he was covering irritated many people,” said Natalia Kozhyna, editor-in-chief of Eco Safety, an environmental newspaper founded by Honcharenko. “He obviously managed to make a lot of enemies.”
His last sensational warning came five days before his death, when he held a July 27 press conference.
Honcharenko, who headed the nongovernmental organization For the Rights of Citizens to Environmental Security, warned that 183 tons of toxic scrap metal had been illegally transported and stored in Kryvyi Rih. He said the material includes 90 tons of the highly dangerous chemical hexachlorbenzol. It was transported in 2006 to a Kryvyi Rih steel plant from the western Ukrainian city of Kalush and was to be melted down for metal.