The Ukrainian military officer who was killed in a car bomb Tuesday was investigating Russia’s involvement in the war in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian news outlet Lb.ua reported on Tuesday.
Two bystanders were also injured in the explosion.
The Ukrainian Defence Ministry said Shapoval was a part of the Chief Directorate of Intelligence, and Ukrainian media said he was chief of military intelligence’s special forces, according to the Associated Press.
Ukraine has called it an act of terrorism, and the Wall Street Journal reported that the country’s chief military prosecutor is looking for links with Russia.
Shapoval was reportedly investigating Russia’s military aggression in the ongoing war in the Donbass region for Ukraine’s case against Russia in the International Court of Justice, also known as The Hague, Lb.ua said. Ukraine is currently suing Russia in the ICJ for “acts of terrorism and unlawful aggression.”
The Ukrainian government has been at war with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014. Many reports appear to show that Russia is funding and managing the separatists, but Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations.
“It was thanks to [Shapoval] that Ukraine was able to substantiate its position in The Hague on Russia’s” armed aggression, an anonymous Ukrainian law enforcement official told LB.ua, which was translated by UNIAN.
Shapoval also collected intel on Russia’s military actions in the Donbass, including their locations and weapons, Lb.ua reported.
Shapoval did “this in such a way that it could serve as unconditional proof of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine, especially regarding the use of the regular battalion task force and the latest weapon systems that are produced in Russia only,” the law enforcement source told LB.ua, and translated by UNIAN.
Molly McKew, a foreign policy and strategic communications consultant, wrote Tuesday in the Washington Post that Shapoval was a huge asset to Ukraine’s security — providing intelligence and preventing coup attempts, among other duties, to defend against Russia.
“Shapoval focused as well on the challenges posed by Russia’s new approach to hybrid warfare — including elements of informational, economic, political and cultural power projection — and how to protect Ukrainian society and democracy from such attacks, McKew wrote. “Much of it is still too secret to be shared.”
Since 2014, at least 13 assassinations in Ukraine — including Shapoval — have been linked to Russia. The majority of these 13 victims have either been blown up, shot, or tortured.
“The enemy eliminated [Shapoval] for everyone to see, including as an element of intimidation and as an element of information warfare against the most devoted sons of Ukraine,” the law enforcement source told LB.ua.
Stratfor Chief Security Officer Fred Burton previously told Business Insider that such violent assassinations in Ukraine were either carried out by Russian mobsters, who only know violent methods, or because Russia was trying to send Ukraine signals.
On June 1, a Chechen assassin posing as a French journalist tried to kill a married couple, Amina Okuyeva and Adam Osmayev, in Kiev. The Kremlin had accused the couple of trying to assassinate Putin in 2012.
When the Chechen assassin, Artur Denisultanov-Kurmakayev, was interviewing the couple in a car, he pulled out a gun and shot Osmayev. Okuyeva then pulled out her gun and shot the assassin four times. All three survived, and the Ukrainian government has accused Russia of ordering the hit.
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