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Putin ally killed in huge car explosion in Russian-occupied Ukraine | World | News

A car bomb ignited in a Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine killed a pro-Kremlin official on April 1, local authorities have claimed.

A picture released by investigators shows a white SUV abandoned in a street in the town of Starobilsk, in Luhansk, after being gutted by the alleged explosion.

The victim was named Valery Chaika by a municipal head. Mr Chaika was the deputy head of a state-run administrative agency in the occupied area.

The pro-Russia official was killed after “an unidentified device detonated in a car” on Monday afternoon, according to the local branch of Moscow’s Investigative Committee.

The organisation added that a probe into a “terrorist act” had been opened.

A statement by the Committee read: “The circumstances of the incident and the people involved in the commission of the crime are being established.”

Vladimir Chernev, the municipal head who named the victim, took to messaging platform Telegram to pay tribute to the pro-Kremlin official.

Upon calling on residents to report any suspicious activity they may notice, he wrote: “Our comrade is dead.”

Luhansk is one of the areas in eastern Ukraine seized by pro-Russian separatists in 2014 – the same year in which the Kremlin illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula.

Concerns for the safety of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic were among the reasons provided by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Luhansk, as well as another self-proclaimed republic, Donetsk, was illegally annexed by Russia in September 2022.

Since the beginning of the invasion, several of the officials installed by Moscow in eastern Ukraine have been killed in attacks orchestrated by pro-Kyiv forces.

The reported explosion happened on the same day as massive fires erupted in two factories in Russia.

One, massive blaze engulfed one of Russia’s largest heavy machinery factories in Yekaterinburg.

A second broke out at a factory outside Moscow, where it is reportedly produced electrical insulating material.

The causes of these fires remain unclear.


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