Ukraine Confirms Responsibility for Car Bombing of Russian Proxy Politician

Ukraine has taken responsibility for the assassination of a Russia-backed politician and former militia leader who was killed in a car bomb attack in eastern Ukraine. Mikhail Filiponenko, a deputy in the pro-Moscow Luhansk regional parliament, died when an “unidentified explosive device” detonated under his 4×4, according to Russian investigators.

Shortly after the attack, Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate released a statement claiming they had carried out a “special operation to eliminate” Filiponenko, working “jointly with representatives of the resistance movement.” This signifies a rare outright claim of responsibility by Kyiv for attacks targeting backers of Russia’s assault on Ukraine and Moscow-installed officials.

Filiponenko served as a deputy in the Luhansk regional parliament and was a former leader of a Moscow-backed separatist militia formed in 2014 to fight against Kyiv. The civil war in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine began in 2014 after a pro-European revolution in Kyiv. Russia later claimed to annex Luhansk, along with three other Ukrainian regions, despite not having full control over them.

Russia’s Investigative Committee released a video of forensics teams working at the site of the blast, showing a destroyed dark 4×4 car parked at the side of the road with blood smeared across the driver’s seat. They have opened a criminal investigation into the incident.

The head of the region, Leonid Pasechnik, mourned Filiponenko’s death on social media, calling it a “heavy loss”. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military intelligence intends to continue targeting “war criminals and collaborators” working with Russia, claiming that Filiponenko had “personally and brutally tortured” civilians and prisoners of war while in the Luhansk militia.

In recent months, there have been several other attacks on pro-Kremlin politicians reportedly linked to Russia, including the shooting of Oleg Tsaryov in Crimea and the car bombing of nationalist Daria Dugina outside Moscow. Russia has accused Ukrainian secret services of being behind these attacks as well as others, including the bombing of military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky in a St. Petersburg cafe.


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