Russia Accuses Ukraine and Opposition for Military Blogger Attack

Mon Apr 03 2023
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MOSCOW: A top military blogger, Vladlen Tatarsky, was killed and dozens injured in what Russia is calling a “terrorist attack” on a cafe in St. Petersburg on Sunday.

Russia has alleged that Ukraine and supporters of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny orchestrated the attack, but Ukraine has blamed Russia’s domestic infighting.

Russian investigators detained 26-year-old Darya Trepova, who allegedly has links to Navalny, and posted a video in which she admits to bringing a statuette rigged with an explosive device to the cafe.

A spokesperson for Navalny’s foundation rejected the accusation, stating that the Kremlin was attempting to add a terrorism charge against Navalny, who is currently facing 35 years on charges of extremism.

Ukraine security services planned the attack

The Russian anti-terror committee has stated that the attack was planned by Ukrainian security services with the support of agents working with Navalny’s banned organization, the Anti-Corruption Foundation.

Trepova had reportedly been arrested for ten days for participating in a protest on February 25, last year, a day after the launch of the offensive in Ukraine.

Tatarsky, whose real name is Mr. Maxim Fomin, marked his name early in the Ukraine offensive by publishing videos analyzing the situation on the ground and offering advice for mobilized troops.

The 40-year-old came from the region of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, which Russia claims to have annexed and which is mostly held by Russian troops. Tatarsky retired from military service in 2019 and founded his famous Telegram channel, which had over 500,000 followers at the time of his death.

The cafe where the attack occurred was reportedly owned by the head of the Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who claimed to have given it to the patriotic movement Cyber Front Z, which hired it out for the evening.

Prigozhin said he believes the responsibility for the attack lies with “a group of radicals that is hardly related to the (Ukrainian) government.”

The Kremlin has condemned the attack and claimed that there is evidence that the Ukrainian special services may be related to its organization.

The attack highlights the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which have been heightened since the beginning of the offensive in Ukraine last month.

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