The European Union denounced Friday the murders of three public figures in Ukraine within the last week. Outspoken former politician Oleh Kalashnikov and journalists Oles Buzina and Serhiy Sukhobok, all of whom were known for their pro-Russian views, were each killed by unknown assailants.
“We condemn the recent killings of the journalists Oles Buzina and Serhiy Sukhobok, as well as of Oleh Kalashnikov, a former MP,” EU spokeswoman Maja Kucijancic said, according to state-owned Russian media outlet Sputnik News. “We call for independent and transparent investigations of these cases so that those responsible can be brought to justice. Our sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims.”
Buzina, 45, was a columnist and editor for Ukraine’s Sevodnya newspaper. He was shot and killed in Kiev by two masked gunmen Thursday afternoon who fired from a car, Reuters reported. Buzina was a well-known advocate for Russia who unsuccessfully campaigned for a spot in Ukraine’s parliament under the country’s Russian bloc party.
His murder occurred just hours after gunmen killed Kalashnikov, 52, at his Kiev apartment complex. Kalashnikov served in parliament as a member of the Party of Regions, which was the leading party under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s regime. Yanukovych was forced to step down in 2014 due to widespread pro-democracy demonstrations. Police are investigating Kalashnikov’s murder, CNN reports.
Both Buzina and Kalashnikov were outspoken critics of the Euromaidan movement in late 2013 and early 2014, which called for Ukraine to expand its ties to the European Union rather than Russia. They reportedly testified last year on behalf of pro-Russian individuals who attacked Euromaidan protesters.
Sukhobov, a 50-year-old freelance journalist with sympathies toward Russia, was also killed this week. Conflicting accounts said Sukhobov was either killed Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also condemned the killings and called on Ukraine to bring the murderers to justice. "In Ukraine, which claims to be a democratic state and has aspirations toward democratic Europe, there has been nothing similar. Where are the killers of these people? Where are the people who carried them out and those who ordered them? They aren't there. In Europe and North America they prefer not to notice this," Putin said during an appearance on Russian television, according to Reuters.