The Russian mercenary, Arseny "Motorola" Pavlov was killed on October 16, 2016, by a bomb planted in the elevator of a Donetsk apartment building in which Motorola resided with his second family.
Motorola became infamous for his admissions of executing Ukrainian prisoners of war, which is recognized as a war crime by the Geneva Conventions. Pavlov's admissions of war crimes, his criminality, his uncontrollability, and his prominent public profile led many observers of the war in Eastern Ukraine to believe that Russia's intelligence services would assassinate him, just as they have assassinated or attempted to assassinate, many of DNR and LNR warlords of a similar profile. The most compelling reason for such an assassination is that Motorola was living proof of the Russian military's war crimes in Ukraine.
It has also been argued that Ukrainian security services have a motive to assassinate Pavlov, to prevent him from executing more Ukrainian prisoners. However, there has been no evidence that Ukrainian security services have conducted any high-level assassination in the Russia-occupied area of the Donbas.
Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that the assassination of Motorola would necessarily stop the execution of Ukrainian POWs, because Russian and pro-Russian actors other than Motorola have been known to carry out torture and execution of Ukrainian POWs.
A third hypothesis is that Motorola may have been assassinated by rival commanders or gang leaders. While this is possible, given Motorola's public profile, it is unlikely that any DNR/LNR warlords would have carried out such an effort without Russia's approval.
Obozrevatel reports the following details
, regarding hackers' findings on Motorola's assassination:
Activists of the cyberalliance of Ukrainian hacker groups, "CyberJunta," FalconsFlame, RUH8, and Trinity found evidence that Russian terrorist Arseny Pavlov, nicknamed "Motorola", was killed by Russian security agencies. This information is reported by InformNapalm, to whom the hackers gave the detailed archives, obtained from the gadgets of Pavlov and his spouse.
The hackers have also reported that they have access to, and fully control, the personal gadgets of other members of the Sparta battalion, and the entourage of Alexander Zakharchenko. As the evidence, they presented data from correspondence intercepted from Motorola and his wife's Viber on the eve of the murder.