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Russia Blames Ukraine After Pro-war Blogger is Killed in Broad Daylight

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After prominent pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, 40, was killed in a bombing attack at a cafe in the center of St. Petersburg on Sunday night, April 2, Russia blamed Ukraine and arrested a suspect.

 

On Monday, Russian authorities said they had concluded that Ukraine collaborated with supporters of Alexiy Navalny, a jailed opposition leader, to carry out the bombing attack that killed one of the country’s most prominent military bloggers and injured more than 30 others.

 

As officials in Russia are shocked by the incident, officials in Kyiv and Western military analysts speculated that it could have been the result of internal divisions.

 

In a statement, the Russian Investigative Committee said it had arrested a woman named Daria Trepova, 26, in connection with Tatarsky’s death.

The committee’s release provided no evidence linking Trepova to the incident or any information about who she is, with the spokesman only stating that investigators are working with Trepova to determine a motive.

Shortly after, Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said that Ukraine’s security services were behind the blast. It also accused “agents” working with jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption organization of being involved.

The counterterrorism agency said Trepova, who had hours earlier been placed on a wanted list, was a supporter of Navalny.

Kyiv did not claim responsibility for the incident, but hinted that it could have been a case of “domestic terrorism.”

 

The arrest comes after Russian state media reported Sunday that a young woman allegedly handed Tatarsky a bust of himself, containing explosives, shortly before the blast.

 

Russian media reported that Tatarsky, whose real name is Maxim Fomin, was born in Ukraine but fought on the side of pro-Russian proxies since 2014. After Moscow launched its full-scale invasion last year, he gained fame for his nightly reports from the front lines in Ukraine and analysis of Moscow’s war strategy.

He had amassed more than half a million followers on Telegram, a popular messaging app in Russia on which he shared his videos and thoughts.

He made an appearance at the Kremlin event dedicated to Russia’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions last year. There, he recorded a video, saying: “We’ll defeat everybody, kill everybody, rob everybody we need to. It will all be the way we like it.”

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakhorova said;

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted Sunday suggesting that “domestic terrorism” was to blame. “Spiders are eating each other in a jar,” he added.

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