Monday, 22 October, 2018

Russia says talks on Ukraine in ‘Normandy format’ not possible now

Leader of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic killed in E. Ukraine blast Russia-backed leader of separatist east Ukraine region reportedly killed in blast
Lisa Bryan | 03 September, 2018, 17:41

The leader of Ukrainian separatists in the east Alexander Zakharchenko, who died in an explosion in the center of rebel hub Donetsk, is the latest rebel official to be slain in a series of apparent murders.

Russian-backed rebels threw off Ukrainian central rule in an armed uprising after pro-Western leaders opposed by Moscow came to power in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, in 2014.

Women lie flowers, the day after Zakharchenko, was killed in a bomb blast.

A restaurant close to the residence of Alexander Zakharchenko, the head of the self-proclamed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), was rocked by an explosion earlier on Friday.

The leaders of Russian Federation and Ukraine, alongside Germany and France, signed a ceasefire in Minsk, Belarus in 2015 to end the conflict in which more than 10,000 people have died and more than 1.5 million have been displaced by violence.

Ukrainian security service chief, Igor Guskov, said Zakharchenko's death could have been the result of infighting or the work of Russian spies. "The republic's leader suffered a fatal wound", a senior Donetsk rebel, Vladislav Berdichevsky, told Interfax news agency.

Zakharchenko headed the self-proclaimed republic since November 2014 when a crisis broke out in Ukraine following a coup d'état that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.


"They are placing a risky bet on destabilizing the situation", Putin said, without specifying who those people were.

At least five other leading separatist commanders have been killed in unexplained circumstances not connected to front-line combat.

Cossack supporters blamed Russian government-backed forces for several assassinations and attacks, lending credence to the idea that Russia has used targeted killings to retain control over local militias in eastern Ukraine.

Other top figures who have been killed outside the battlefield include commanders Alexei Mozgovoy and Arsen Pavlov better known by his nom de guerre Motorola.

He said the blast, which left two people dead and nine injured, "is highly likely to be [organized] by the Security Service of Ukraine, by the state which is now called Ukraine".

"This is a serious situation that has to be analysed", Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. On April 16, he took part in storming the building of the Donetsk City Administration.

Dmitry Trapeznikov, 37, was named as Zakharchenko's replacement.

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