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Ukrainian Journalist's Apartment Set On Fire

Donetsk Mayor Oleksandr Lukyanchenko has called for a full investigation.

Donetsk Mayor Oleksandr Lukyanchenko has called for a full investigation.

DONETSK, Ukraine -- Ukrainian and international NGOs are calling on officials to accelerate an investigation into an arson attack on the apartment of an investigative journalist, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Oleksiy Matsuka, 28, is chief editor of the Donetsk regional website News of Donbass. Someone barricaded his apartment door with bags of cement on July 31 and set fire to it.

A funeral wreath was left at the door reading: "To Oleksiy Vitaliyovych, from grieving friends." Matsuka was not at home at the time.

The police have classified the incident as hooliganism and opened a criminal investigation.

Matsuka told RFE/RL on August 1 the attack was linked to his professional activities.

The News of Donbass website recently published a number of articles about the lavish lifestyle of local elite figures.

In his blog on July 28, Matsuka wrote: "Who would believe the Donetsk mayor lives on his monthly salary of 8,000 hryvnas [$1,000]? Who would believe that the 23-year-old son of the Donetsk regional governor bought a mansion in the city center with his own money? Who would believe that the Donetsk city secretary earned his millions honestly?"

The Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders and the Kyiv-based NGO Stop Censorship called on the Ukrainian authorities on August 1 to ensure Matsuka's personal safety by providing him with police protection until the attackers are found.

Matsuka said the police provided him with a bodyguard only the first night after the attack.

"They think that my position is not high enough and I am not the [sort of] person that should have guards. But I have received direct threats to my life," he told RFE/RL.

Donetsk Mayor Oleksandr Lukyanchenko asked the police on August 1 to conduct a thorough investigation and to review all possible motives for the attack on Matsuka.

Matsuka also heads the Donetsk Institute of Information, a local NGO.