How did a KY reg car end up used in Ukraine bomb attack?

Simon Brouder

Gardai believe that a Kerry-registered car that was used in a car bomb attack in Ukraine had probably been 'scrapped' in Ireland and exported to eastern Europe.

There was widespread surprise last week when images emerged showing the KY-registered car that was used in the car bomb attack in the seaport of Odessa in southern Ukraine.

The attack - which took place on June 24 - targeted Ukrainian Security firm owner Andiry Babenko, and it is thought to be related to an ongoing criminal feud in the city.

The attack is not believed to have any links to gangs or criminal feuds in this country.

The 04 KY-registered Honda Accord containing the bomb had been parked outside the target's home.

When Mr Babenko and his family arrived home, the bomb - which had been placed underneath the car and contained a small amount of explosives and ball bearing 'shrapnel' - was detonated.

The target, who suffered leg injuries, survived as he was shielded from the blast by the metal front door of his property.

His family and bodyguards - who had all previously been travelling with Mr Babenko in an armoured Mercedes car - were uninjured in the attack.

In the wake of the bombing, Gardaí said they have been assisting Ukrainian Police and National Guard in tracing the car's movements and ownership and how it might have found its way to Ukraine and into the hands of bombers.

Gardaí said that numerous Irish-registered vehicles that have been 'scrapped' or legally sold on in Ireland and the UK have been found on the roads of Eastern Europe.

A number of such cars and vehicles have been used by criminals and terrorists in the course of robberies and terrorist attacks.

Gardaí say they have had contacts from several eastern European countries regarding Irish vehicles that had been used in criminal incidents.

These include Chechnya, where several 'scrapped' Irish cars have been used in terror attacks.

"Some of them have been used in many different kinds of criminality in these countries, such as robberies, but others have been used in terrorist atrocities," said a Garda spokesperson.

"We have cooperated with our European colleagues but, generally, they have been legally sold on here or handed over in scrappage schemes."

Odessa - a haven for smugglers - is a major international trafficking hub and home to several Russian mafia gangs.