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Ukraine: Wealthy Businessman and Legislator Killed

Kyiv, 4 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Russian media say a wealthy Ukrainian businessman and legislator, Yevgeny Shcherban, was killed yesterday by unknown assailants at an airport in the southeastern city of Donetsk.

A Donetsk airport official, Lyudmila Ivchenko, said Shcherban had died on the spot. She gave no further details. Interfax and Itar-Tass said another man also had been killed. Itar-Tass quoted witnesses as saying four to five other people were wounded in the attack, including Shcherban's wife and son. Interfax puts the number of wounded at three.

The agencies said the gunmen drove up to Shcherban's plane just as he was disembarking and opened fire. The first shots missed, but he was killed as he ran to his waiting car. The attackers fled, but their suspected getaway vehicle was found burned some 20 kilometers away.

Shcherban was reported to be a wealthy but disreputable businessman who headed the Aton company and was closely involved with the coal sector in Donetsk, the capital of Ukraine's Donbass coal region. He also reportedly was linked to Donetsk governor Vladimir Shcherban, a namesake recently ousted by President Leonid Kuchma.

The Ukrainian press have indirectly linked today's victim to a failed bomb attack on Prime Minister Pavel Lazorenko earlier this year, a charge he repeatedly denied.