Murder of Sheremet would be prepared by special services of Belarus in 2012
In 2012, the chairman of the State Security Committee of Belarus, Vadym Zaytsev, mentioned a possibility of murdering the journalist Pavel Sheremet with an explosive device. This was reported by the "Belarusian People's Tribunal ", the Belgian publication EUobserver and " Ukrayinska Pravda”.
These editions published recordings of a conversation on April 11, 2012, in which the voices are similar to those of the then KGB chief Vadym Zaitsev and employees of the counter-terrorist unit of the KGB "Alpha". More specifically, he was briefing members of the Alpha Group's Seventh Department, a clandestine task-force, which Zaitsev had created to target the regime's political enemies.
In particular, the head of the KGB spoke of the method of killing Pavel Sheremet, who lived in Russia at the time. " "We'll plant [a bomb] and so on and this fucking rat will be taken down in fucking pieces - legs in one direction, arms in the other direction. If everything [looks like] natural causes, it won't get into people's minds the same way," Zaitsev said.
A 24-minute excerpt of the bugged recording, which has never before come to light, is now published here:
Zaitsev is the first speaker, who begins with a stammer, and his voice in the recording can be openly compared with one of the KGB chairman's public speeches on YouTube.
It "sounds like the same guy", a contact from a Nato country's intelligence service, who was familiar with Zaitsev and who examined the bugged audio file for EUobserver, told this website.
A forensic examination of the file was inconclusive.
The audio was too poor quality, from a technical point of view, to do biometric "speaker recognition analysis", Catalin Grigoras, the director of the National Centre for Media Forensics at the University of Colorado in the US, who also examined the leaked file, said.
It had been edited at least once, probably to delete a digital signature which could have identified the KGB mole who planted the recording device in Zaitsev's office, Grigoras told EUobserver.
But the forensics expert "didn't find" any obvious "trace of audio-manipulation" on the file, he said.
Pavel Sheremet died in Kyiv on July 20, 2016 in a car blast.
On December 12, 2019, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that the National Police had detained and pressed suspicion to those involved in the murder of Pavel Sheremet.
On December 12, Deputy Head of the National Police - Chief of Criminal Police Yevgeny Koval reported that the explosive under the car of journalist Pavel Sheremet was put by the ATO musician and volunteer Andriy Antonenko and doctor and volunteer Yulia Kuzmenko.
The same day, Yevhen Koval said that the investigation considered the main version of the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet was to destabilize the social and political situation in Ukraine.
On 12 December, the editorial staff of “Ukrayinska Pravda” (UP) claimed to be stupefied by the investigative lead into the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet, as “UP” web-based edition reported on its website.
“We welcome the fact that the investigation is underway and the case has not been forgotten. We have to say it frankly, the lead of investigation stupefied us. Actually, we took the information they set out with reserve, ” the UP’s message reads.
On July 23, 2019, Head of the National Police Serhiy Knyazev told that the murder of Pavel Sheremet still remained unsolved.
On July 23, 2019, the head of the National Police, Serhiy Knyazev, reported to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky some classified information about the progress of the investigation into the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet.
On July 23, 2019, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky told that those responsible for the murder of Pavel Sheremet would be found.
In November 2019, Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka told that the detention of the spouses of ATO veterans Vladyslav and Inna Gryschenko was not related to the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet. But, their involvement in the murder of the journalist was to be verified, the same as involvement of other persons.