Leonid Kuchma   Letter 23   29-Jun-2001   Another contract killing in Kuchma's Ukraine
"As Breus was getting out of his car, he was shot four or five times in the head and back at point blank range." Committee to Protect Journalists

        29 June 2001

Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankivska 11
Kyiv, 252005

Leonid Kuchma:

Whether you are directly responsible for the assassination of Oleh Breus remains to be seen.  What is evident immediately, though, is that you are at least indirectly responsible you have set up an administration under which contract killers feel confident that they will never be brought to justice.  Had George Soros not bought you the Presidency in 1994, Oleh Breus might well be alive today.

When you are put on trial for your crimes, you may expect that Oleh Breus will be added to the list of the victims of your regime for which you will be asked to give an account.

Lubomyr Prytulak


Oleh Breus, XXI Vek, June 24, 2001, Luhansk

New York, June 28, 2001
Oleh Breus, publisher of the regional weekly XXI Vek in the provincial city of Luhansk, was shot dead outside his home last Sunday, according to local press reports and CPJ sources.

At approximately 11 p.m. on June 24, Breus drove up to his house, accompanied by his wife and a friend.  As Breus was getting out of his car, he was shot four or five times in the head and back at point blank range.  Neither passenger was harmed.

Eyewitnesses heard the shots and saw two men fleeing the scene, one of them holding a pistol.  The Luhansk weekly Kur'er reported that both perpetrators left in a car that was parked nearby.

The motive for the murder remains unclear. As publisher of XXI Vek, Breus was mainly responsible for financial matters.  He had other business interests apart from the newspaper, and also held a senior position in the regional Communist Party of Workers and Peasants.

Breus had suffered at least one previous assassination attempt, in December 2000.  His colleagues at XXI Vek had also received threats in recent months, according to local press reports.

XXI Vek editor Yuri Yurov told CPJ today that the newspaper generally reflected Breus' political positions and business interests.

Local police have launched an investigation into Breus' murder.
Committee to Protect Journalists  www.cpj.org/killed/killed01.html