Ukraine Claims to Have Assassinated Kremlin-Backed Politician in Car Bombing in Luhansk


Ukraine claimed responsibility for the assassination of a Russia-backed official with a car bomb in the occupied city of Luhansk.

Mikhail Filiponenko, a lawmaker in the Kremlin-installed assembly, was the former head of the army of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and had been an active member of the region’s pro-Russian separatist movement since 2014.

Both Ukrainian and Russian authorities reported Filiponenko had been killed in a car bombing early on Wednesday. Ukraine’s military intelligence service claimed responsibility and warned others serving “terrorist Russia” would receive similar “retribution.”

“A special operation to eliminate the executioner Filiponenko was implemented together with representatives of the resistance movement,” Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence said on Telegram.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had launched a criminal investigation into the explosion.

“Today in the morning an unidentified explosive device exploded under the bottom of the car, killing Mikhail Filiponenko,” it said on Telegram. “A criminal case has been opened.”

Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence said the bomb detonated at 8.40 a.m. Wednesday and confirmed “the so-called deputy of the so-called ‘Supreme Soviet LPR’ from the Russian Liberal Democratic Party Filiponenko Mikhail Yuryevich was eliminated.”

Filiponenko had been “involved in the organization of torture chambers in the occupied territories of Luhansk, where prisoners of war and civilian hostages were subjected to inhuman torture,” according to the Defense Intelligence.

“Filiponenko personally brutally tortured people,” it said.

There is growing evidence of Russia’s widespread use of torture against Ukrainians in the territories it has occupied. A report in August found that nearly half of Ukrainians held in Russian detention centers in Kherson were subject to widespread torture including sexual violence.

Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence posted Filiponenko’s address and warned others: “All addresses of traitors and places of their service to terrorist Russia in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine are known! Defense Intelligence of Ukraine states that all war criminals and collaborators will receive a fair retribution!”

There have been several assassination attempts against Russian-backed officials in occupied Ukraine. The acting interior minister of the LPR, Igor Kornet, was “severely” wounded in an explosion in May.

Luhansk is one of the four regions that Russia unilaterally annexed in September last year, along with Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

Moscow staged sham elections in all four regions in September, in an attempt to enforce a narrative of Russian legitimacy in the parts of Ukraine it holds.


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