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Colonel In Ukrainian Military Intelligence Killed In Kyiv Car Bombing


Forensic Teams Start Work After Kyiv Blast
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WATCH: Forensic Teams Start Work After Kyiv Blast

A colonel in Ukraine’s armed forces has been killed in a car bombing in Kyiv that authorities are investigating as a "terrorist attack."

A Defense Ministry statement on the June 27 explosion identified the victim of the blast as Colonel Maksim Shapoval.

Police said law enforcement officers received a message at 8:16 a.m. in Kyiv saying a Mercedes had exploded at a crossroads in the Solomyansky district, killing a man inside the car and wounding a passerby.

CCTV pictures that captured the moment the car bomb exploded show a flash of fire followed by a large plume of smoke rising up from a tree-lined street in the capital. Several cars nearby stopped, but none appeared affected by the blast, which left the car Shapoval was in mangled and charred.

"The national police, rescuers, as well as explosives and forensic experts are working at the scene," the Defense Ministry said. "The event has been qualified as a terrorist act."

It gave no further details.

WATCH: CCTV footage captured the moment that car exploded

The Moment A Car Bomb Exploded In Kyiv
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The Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper earlier identified Shapoval as a special-forces commander at the Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate.

Artem Shevchenko, chief of communications for the Interior Ministry, told RFE/RL that Shapoval had recently returned from the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine and that the authorities believe the motive for what he called a "targeted assassination" was his "professional service."

String Of Assassinations

Since fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine broke out in April 2014, there have been a number of incidents involving explosives outside the conflict zone, though car bombs are relatively rare.

Earlier this month, a man from Russia's Chechnya region posing as a French reporter shot and wounded Adam Osmayev, a Chechen who moved to Ukraine and who fought on Kyiv's side against Russia-backed militants in eastern Ukraine. The victim's wife shot the attacker.

Lieutenant Colonel Oleksandr Kharaberiush, deputy chief of the Donetsk region counterintelligence department for the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), was killed in a car explosion in the eastern port city of Mariupol on March 31, the agency said, blaming Russia-backed separatists.

Earlier that month, Denis Voronenkov -- a former Russian lawmaker and vocal critic of Kremlin policy toward Ukraine, including its military invasion and annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 -- was gunned down in broad daylight in the heart of Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called Voronenkov's killing "an act of state terrorism by Russia."

Pavel Sheremet, a Belarusian-born Russian journalist who was often critical of top political leaders and other government officials in his reporting, was killed in July 2016 in Kyiv when the car he was driving to work was blown up.

In his last blog post before his assassination, Sheremet wrote that Ukrainian politicians who were former members of volunteer battalions that had fought separatists in Ukraine’s east could carry out a coup in Kyiv.

A pretrial investigation by Ukraine’s Interior Ministry into Sheremet's death "led to the conclusion that this crime was carefully prepared by a group of people."

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in any of the attacks.

There has also been a string of assassinations of separatist leaders in Ukraine’s east, where fighting has killed more than 10,000 people, according to the United Nations. The separatists have blamed the killings on Kyiv, which denies involvement.

With reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and Ukrainska Pravda