The car exploded when Sheremet was driving it at 7.45 a.m. in the central part of Kyiv, on the corner of Ivan Franko and Bohdan Khmelnytskiy Streets. The car belonged to Olena Prytula, a founding editor of Ukrainska Pravda.
Investigators work near the burnt frame of a car belonged to the Ukrainska Pravda founding editor Olena Prytula on July 20 in Kyiv. (Volodymyr Petrov)
Sheremet, 44, was a Belarusian journalist and TV host who has been working outside of Belarus for a long time. He previously worked in Russia as TV host and journalist before moving to Kyiv around five years ago.
Sheremet hosted a morning show on Radio Vesti. According to the radio’s website, the journalist was heading to the radio’s office to host his show when the car exploded.
Lyubov Pereyenko, a witness of the explosion, was selling fruits in her kiosk nearby. According to her words, the ambulance came very quickly, some 7-8 minutes, and police came after that. “Law enforcement came just after ambulance, and took (everyone) to the safe distance,” Pereyenko said. “The explosion was so strong that the parts (of the car) were lying near my kiosk.”
Aleksandr Rotan, a waiter at Device Club, located meters from where the explosion took place, helped drag Sheremet out of his car immediately after the explosion.
“It sounded like a shell,” Rotan said, adding that Sheremet was still alive, though unconscious immediately after the blast.
Anatoliy Vitter, a taxi driver who was smoking a cigarette on the opposite corner as the car exploded, said that Sheremet had stopped to let another car pass the intersection as the blast went off.
“You couldn’t see him there was so much smoke,” Viter told the Kyiv Post. “It was as if it was clearly ordered.”
Vitter said that the explosion launched bits of the car into the air, and forced the bumper to fly across the street.
“He could barely breathe and was gasping for breath,” Viter said. When asked if he was alive after being pulled from the car, Viter replied: “If you can call that alive.”
Both Rotan and Viter said that the car began to catch fire as Sheremet was pulled out. Rotan said that he and other bystanders tried to put the flame out with water.
Vitter added that he called the police soon after the explosion. His phone showed a call to emergency services at 7:42.
“They came in less than five minutes,” Viter said.
Petr, who was also standing on the corner opposite MacDonalds, told Kyiv Post that someone opened the door: “I saw that he was injured and his legs were not quite right. Then they started to pour water and he started to burn. They dragged him out the car. He was in a lot of pain.”
When the ambulance picked up Sheremet off the pavement, the bystanders started to back away, said Petr, because the car was burning so much that people were scared.
Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko reported that based on his information Sheremet was killed as result of a bomb explosion. “This is a murder,” Lutsenko said on his Facebook.
Ukrainska Pravda reported that Khatia Dekanoidze, Ukraine’s National Police chief, arrived at the spot of the tragedy and said it would be “matter of honor” for her to investigate this case.
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