- The Prime Minister of the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, was killed on Friday in a cafe bombing in Donetsk.
- The explosion also wounded Alexander Timofeyev, the DPR’s finance minister.
- Russian media says several “Ukrainian saboteurs” have since been arrested.
The leader of the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine was killed on Friday in a cafe bombing, according to several reports.
Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko was killed after a bomb exploded in a downtown Donetsk cafe called “Separ,” meaning Separatist, according to Meduza.
The explosion also wounded Alexander Timofeyev, the DPR’s finance minister, Meduza reported.
— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) August 31, 2018
Multiple people were arrested near the cafe in connection with the bombing, including “Ukrainian saboteurs,” Interfax reported.
“Read nothing into [these arrests of Ukrainian saboteurs] until we know more details,” Aric Toler, a researcher with Bellingcat, tweeted.
The main suspects everyone will look to in Zakharchenko's assassination are, in no particular order:
1) The Ukrainian SBU (duh)
2) Donetsk rivals (Pushilin has been feuding with Zakharchenko lately. Also Khodakovsky, Zakharchenko's long-time rival)
3) Moscow, cleaning up
— Aric Toler (@AricToler) August 31, 2018
Russian President Vladimir Putin himself commented on the incident on Friday.
“The despicable murder of Alexander Zakharchenko is the latest evidence that those who chose the path of terror, violence, and fear don’t want to seek a peaceful, political solution to the conflict, and don’t want to lead a real dialogue with the people of the southeast,” Putin said. “They are making a dangerous bet on destabilizing the situation.”
Assassinations on both sides of the conflict in Ukraine between Kyiv and the two Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which has been raging for more than four years, are rather common.