Ukrainian hackers intercepted SMS between separatist commander Motorola and his wife on the eve of his murder

Ukrainian hackers have gained access to the mobile devices of the deceased separatists commander Arsen Pavlov, known by his call sign “Motorola,” and his wife, Elena Pavlova. Among the intercepted data included Viber correspondence between Motorola and his wife on the day before his murder, reports the InformNapalm project.

“A cursory analysis of the information indicates that Motorola was concerned over his safety in the last weeks before his death. It seemed to him that he was unnecessary,” the publication says.

For example, in the message Pavlov’s wife mentioned that she became anxious when security agents did not protect their house during the night between October 15 and 16. The next day, Arsen Pavlov was killed in an explosion in the elevator of his house.

The Financial Times wrote that the death of the pro-Russian commander of the so-called  Donetsk People’s Republic is shrouded in mystery. Since the end of 2015, there have been at least four pro-Russian separatist commanders killed: Pavel Dremov, Alexander Bednov, Aleksey Mozgovoy and Yevgen Isachenko. They all were rivals of the leader of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky, who also faced an assassination attempt, but survived.

“However, the death of Pavlov, the most prominent of at least seven separatist commanders who have been killed in just over a year, also raises some questions: why are so many separatist leaders being killed like this during the truce? There are a variety of theories: from the revenge of pro-Ukrainian groups and infighting between the different rebel groups to the actions of the Russian Special Services, getting rid of the separatists who they can no longer control," the Financial Times wrote.

The head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, accused the Ukrainian Security Services of the murder of Motorola. Analysts, noting the care with which Pavlov was concerned about his safety, assume that he was killed by his own people. They note that the Russian media are praising Pavlov. Officials in Kyiv and other sources suggest that he could have been eliminated by the Russian Special Servicesas as a part of clean-up operation.

  Ukraine, Russia, Donbas