Blast in Ukraine kills bodyguard, injures three

Investigators work at the site of a car explosion in central Kiev, Ukraine October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

KIEV: At least one person was killed and three others, including lawmaker Ihor Mosiychuk, wounded in an explosion Wednesday night in Ukraine’s capital city, local authorities said, adding that the incident seems to have been premeditated.

Police subsequently reached the scene of the blast and cordoned off the area.

Officials believe that the blast was an assassination attempt on Mosiychuk — a member of the opposition Radical Party — who was immediately taken to the hospital but whose injuries were not life-threatening.

Mosiychuk’s bodyguard, however, was identified as the deceased person, party leader Oleh Lyashko noted, adding that he had no doubt the incident was politically motivated.

“The attempt on Mosiychuk’s life was linked to his professional activities and political position,” he said on Facebook.

There was no immediate word from police on the possible suspects or the motives behind the attack.

“Unfortunately, one [of the wounded people] succumbed to his injuries on way to the hospital. He was a 30-year-old man,” Zoryan Shkiryak — the advisor to the country’s minister for internal affairs — had said in a post on Facebook right after the explosion took place.

Bike exploded near entrance

The explosion came “when [Mosiychuk] was leaving the building” of a local news outlet, Front News International stated citing officials familiar with the matter.

A motorcycle seemed to have blown up near the entrance to the aforementioned TV station.

Authorities received information about a car explosion in Kiev’s Solomensky district at 7:05 PM GMT (12:05 AM PST, Thursday), Kiev police spokeswoman Oksana Blyshchyk said.

An investigation has been launched but it is unclear whether the incident is being treated as an act of terrorism.

Radical Party lawmaker Evhen Deidei posted photos on his Facebook page from the scene of the attack that showed the burnt-out shell of a motorcycle in front of a blast-hit vehicle.

“Judging by the damage to the car and the shrapnel holes in the doors, the power of the explosion was pretty strong,” he said. “There is a lot of blood on the stairs, where Ihor was situated at the time of the explosion.”

Shkiryak said political analyst Vitaliy Bala was one of the three wounded in the blast.

Rising tensions

Since fighting with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine broke out in 2014, the number of incidents involving explosives outside the conflict zone has increased, but vehicle bombings are relatively rare.

In June, a colonel in Ukraine’s military intelligence was killed by a car bomb in central Kiev, while, in 2016, Pavel Sheremet — a prominent investigative journalist — was killed by the detonation of an explosive device in his car.