West Midlands Police, investigating the murder of Birmingham pensioner, Mohammed Saleem, and recent explosions near to mosques in the Black Country, issued a statement saying that a 25-year-old Ukrainian man “has this evening (July 22) been charged with the terrorist-related murder of Birmingham pensioner Mohammed Saleem”. He will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court tomorrow. In an earlier statement, the West Midlands Police said that the second Ukrainian, who had been arrested a few days ago, “was last night released from police custody without charge. He is now assisting investigating officers as a witness”.
The 25-year-old Ukrainian's name is Pavlo Lapshyn (or Pavel Lapshin in Russian), he is coming from Dnipropetrovsk, an important industrial centre in Ukraine and a home-town of now-imprisoned former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Lapshyn is a Russian-speaking postgraduate student at the National Metallurgical Academy of Ukraine. In England, he was doing practical training at the Birmingham-based Delcam company.
|Pavel Lapshyn (in the middle)|
My colleague Pavel Klymenko and I discovered Lapshyn’s account at one of the social networking web-sites, revealing his vehemently racist beliefs and right-wing terrorist obsessions.
On the 21st of June, when attempts were made to bomb mosques in Walsall, Lapshyn posted a picture and a music track praising Timothy McVeigh, a deceased American terrorist who was responsible for “the Oklahoma City bombing” that killed 168 people.
|A picture of Timothy McVeigh from Lapshyn's web-site|
His “groups of interest” include the Russian communities “The Slavic Revival” and “The Hammer of National Socialism”.
In June this year, Lapshyn also posted a poem by Nikola Korolyov, the founder of the Russian neo-Nazi “SPAS” organisation. Korolyov is now jailed for life in Russia for right-wing terrorist attacks and murders. Another post in June featured a picture of an electric detonator element. Both these posts, however, were later deleted. Last time Lapshyn visited his web-site was on the 18th of July, the day he was arrested. Perhaps, he deleted those two posts then.
If Lapshyn is indeed the culprit (the investigation is still going on), one of the most important questions is whether he had any intentions to commit the terrorist attacks in England before he went to the country for the training course at Delcam. I would suggest that he did not. He might have been extremely radicalised (and his extremism resulted in the murder of Mohammed Saleem), but the impetus to bomb mosques was most likely been given by the Woolwich terror attack and the subsequent wave of anti-Muslim attacks.
A more detailed analysis requires more information which is currently scarce.
- Pavlo Lapshyn case: Brief chronology and charges
- International neo-Nazis respond to the Pavlo Lapshyn case
- Pavlo Lapshyn: From estrangement to far right terrorism? (in Russian language) Part 1 / Part 2