Zakhar Prilepin, a prominent Russian nationalist writer, was injured in a car bomb that killed his driver Saturday and investigators say a suspect in custody has admitted take action on behalf of Ukraine.
The attack comes three days after the Kremlin said Ukraine tried to attack the Kremlin with a drone – Ukraine denied it was involved in the attack.
The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine and its Western supporters, especially the United States, of the latest attack on the writer, an ardent supporter of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian security service, in its standard response, refused to confirm or deny involvement. A senior Ukrainian official accused Russia of orchestrating the incident.
Russia’s State Investigative Committee says Prilepin’s Audi Q7 blew up in a village in the Nizny Novgorod region, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Moscow, in what is considered an act of terrorism. . It said Prilepin was taken to the hospital.
The commission released a photo showing the white vehicle overturned on the tracks next to a forest, with a deep crater beside it and pieces of metal scattered nearby.
The commission later released a statement saying investigators were questioning a suspect identified as Alexander Permyakov.
“The suspect was detained and during questioning he provided testimony that he acted on the instructions of the Ukrainian special services,” the statement was read by a woman in uniform. .
The governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, Gleb Nikitin, said on Telegram that doctors have successfully operated on Prilepin and that he is currently being sedated to help recover.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, in a statement on its website, said: “The responsibility for this and other terrorist acts lies not only with the Ukrainian authorities, but also with the patrons of the Western world. Their West, in the first case the United States…”.
It said Washington’s failure to condemn this and other attacks was “self-disclosure” to US authorities.
State news agency TASS, citing security sources, said the suspect was “of Ukrainian origin” with a previous conviction for violent robbery.
Ukraine’s SBU Security Service issued the standard response, refusing to confirm or deny involvement in the bombing.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said he believes Russian authorities staged the attack.
“Everybody understands that this is purely a staged performance,” Podolyak told Ukrainian television. “This was staged and the bombings in the Kremlin were aimed at a domestic audience.”
The novelist is the third prominent pro-war figure to be targeted by a bomb since Moscow’s all-out invasion of the neighboring country in February 2022.
Russia has blamed Ukraine for the deaths of journalist Darya Dugina and war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky in two previous attacks, and Kiev has denied involvement.
Ukrainian news site UNIAN has conducted an online poll asking readers who are the next targets of “Russian scumbag propagandists” after Dugina, Tatarsky and Prilepin.
Officials at the White House, Pentagon and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. No comment was immediately available from the British Foreign Office.
Moscow says Ukraine acted on behalf of the US
It is the second time this week that Moscow has accused Ukraine of carrying out terrorist attacks on behalf of the West, a story Moscow appears to be pushing with increasing urgency but which Kyiv and Washington deny is. unfounded.
On Wednesday, Russia accused Ukraine of trying to kill President Vladimir Putin with a nighttime drone strike on the Kremlin. Ukraine also denies it, and the White House says allegations that Washington has a hand in it are “lies”.
Prilepin often speaks out in support of the Ukraine war on social media, with more than 300,000 followers on Telegram, his own website and YouTube channel.
He fought for Russian proxy forces in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine before last year’s invasion and led a military unit there, boasting in a 2019 YouTube interview that the unit his has “murdered in large numbers”.
“These people are dead, they’re buried and… there’s a lot of them,” he said. “Not a single unit in the Donetsk battalions has achieved such results. What we did there was chaotic… No field commander has achieved the same results as me.”
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)