Eastern Europe News

Alexander Zakharchenko, Leader Of Donetsk People’s Republic, Assassinated In Explosion

Image by Andrew Butko
Праздник солидарности в Донецке

The leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, was assassinated by an explosive device while sitting in a cafe near his home in the DPR. The Kremlin immediately accused the Ukrainian government in Kyiv of being behind the murder.

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“Unfortunately, DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko has been killed in a terror attack. Details are being clarified,” the Donetsk News Agency reported on its website on Friday, reported Russian state news agency TASS. Three other people were injured in the explosion. Zakharchenko was the latest in a line of leaders in East Ukraine who have been murdered. Many analysts accuse the Kremlin of being behind the attacks.

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Alexander Zakharchenko, 42, was named prime minister of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) in November 2014. The DNR’s official news agency confirmed his death and said the republic’s finance minister, Alexander Timofeev, was injured when the explosive device went off in the Separ café in the centre of Donetsk. The bomb was planted in a nearby vehicle, Ukrainian media reported, reported The Guardian.

The Ukrainian security service chief, Igor Guskov, said Zakharchenko’s death could have been the result of infighting between rival separatist factions or an operation by Russian special forces. Kiev has previously accused Russia of killing separatist figures who refuse to obey Kremlin orders.

“According to our information, this was the result of internal fighting which has already been continuing for years between the terrorists and their Russian sponsors,” reported the spokesman for the state Security Service in Kyiv, Yelena Gitlyanskaya.

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