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Ukraine: Chief Editor Of Odessa Newspaper Slain

Odessa, 12 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - The chief editor of the "Vechernaya Odessa" newspaper was murdered in a gangland-style shooting in Odessa in southern Ukraine.

Our correspondent says Boris Derevyanko was gunned down yesterday morning shortly after he left his car near the paper's editorial offices. The killer escaped. Police are investigating the murder.

President Leonid Kuchma called on the country's interior ministry, security service and prosecutor's office to launch an immediate investigation into the case.

Ruslan Bodelan, head of the Odessa regional administration, said he had no doubts the murder was a contract killing. Oleh Lytvak, the head of the Ukrainian prosecutor's office said the mafia was waging a war against journalists.

Our correspondent says that in separate incidents recently Derevyanko had been beaten outside his home and his car riddled with bullets. He said "Vechernaya Odessa" recently had published stories alleging corruption in the awarding of construction contracts.

Derevyanko is the latest journalist to be targeted in Ukraine. In 1996, Petro Shevchenko, a reporter with the daily "Kieyskiye Vedomosti" in Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, was found hanged in a suburb in Kyiv. Last June, a journalist with the Kyiv newspaper, "Den", Vitaly Kotsyuk, was beaten up and set on fire on the outskirts of the capital. He later died in hospital.