Thursday, 23 January, 2020


'Pro-Russian separatist leader's death may inflame Ukraine tensions'

'Pro-Russian separatist leader's death may inflame Ukraine tensions' 'Pro-Russian separatist leader's death may inflame Ukraine tensions'
Bennie Garza | 03 September, 2018, 17:40

Zakharchenko was killed in an explosion that rocked a cafe in Donetsk city in eastern Ukraine on Friday.

The leader of the breakaway Donetsk region of Ukraine was killed in an explosion on Friday, in an apparent assassination that could reignite a conflict that has become a fault-line between Russian Federation and the West.

A source close to the Donetsk separatist leadership, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Friday that Denis Pushilin, head of the rebel legislature, was likely to become caretaker leader of the region.

The death of Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, underlined the dismal prospects for resolving the conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people. His death was reported soon after the cafe explosion, but the extent of the casualties was not revealed until DPT health minister Alexander Oprishchenko reported them on Saturday.

The fighting in the country's two easternmost regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, erupted four years ago in response to Ukraine ousting its pro-Russian president in a pivot to the West.

Ukraine has designated it as a terrorist group and is at war with the DPR and Luhansk People's Republic.

The separatists have been dogged by infighting that has sometimes turned violent. A bombing killed prominent rebel Arsen Pavlov, known as Motorola, in 2016 and a rocket fired into his office killed separatist commander Mikhail Tolstykh, known as Givi, in 2017.

However, recent reports suggested that Zakharchenko had fallen out of favour with Russian Federation.

Putin called Zakharchenko "a real people's leader", and "a courageous man".

The leader of the main breakaway territory backed by Moscow in eastern Ukraine has been killed by a bomb.

In the past, 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.

"Details are being clarified", the news agency quotes a spokesman for the administration as saying.

The region's official media outlet said on Friday that Dmitry Trapeznikov, the deputy head of the region's council of ministers, had been appointed temporary leader, following an emergency meeting.

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