Reports have emerged that an incendiary device planted by terrorists at the Separ cafe in central Donetsk has killed Donetsk People’s Republic leader Alexander Zakharchenko. Zakharchenko took the leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic in the summer of 2014 and has subsequently been the most visible face of the anti-fascist liberation struggle in Donbass.
A front-line politician and organiser who often led his men in battle, Zakharchenko will be remembered as a figure of inspiration to the Donbass people. Alexander Zakharchenko was among the first to enlist in the anti-fascist resistance in the spring of 2014 before quickly rising up the ranks of Donetsk’s political and military leadership.
— Necro Mancer (@666_mancer) August 31, 2018
While the war in Donbass has largely been a frozen conflict in terms of contact lines remaining intact since 2016, sporadic offences by the forces of the Kiev regime have frequently seen civilians living near the contact line be killed or become seriously injured.
While the security situation in central Donetsk is generally calm, terrorists have in the past been able to sneak explosives into the city. 2017 saw the prominent assassinations of Lieutenant Colonel Mikhail Givi Tolstykh and commander Arsen Motorola Pavlov. While neo-Nazi websites had frequently discussed targeting Zakharchenko, it was thought that the security around him was such that he was protected almost as well as a head of state outside of a war zone.
Today this proved not to be true as Zakharchenko was killed while many of his colleagues were injured. The Donetsk People’s Republic has subsequently declared a state of emergency and sealed all entry and exit points to its territory.
The Russian Foreign Minister has condemned the terrorist act and has accused the Kiev regime of committing an act of state terrorism. According to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova,
“DPR head Zakharchenko has been killed in a terror attack in Donetsk. There is every reason to believe that the Kiev regime, which has used similar means to eliminate unwanted people who have dissenting views more than once, is behind his assassination. Instead of implementing the Minsk agreements and looking for means to settle the internal conflict, Kiev’s party of war is implementing a terrorist scenario and is aggravating the already difficult situation in the region. Without fulfilling its peace promises, they decided to launch a bloody slaughter. The global community must demand, and, considering Ukraine’s puppet political system, control the impartial investigation into that crime committed in front of civilians’ eyes”.
Subsequent to Zakharova’s statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the terrorist assassination and said that the those responsible must be brought to justice. In a statement expressing his condolences Putin further said of Zakharchenko ,
“He was a real people’s leader, a brave man, a patriot of Donbass. This vile murder is another testimony that those who have chosen the path of terror, intimidation, do not want to seek a peaceful, political solution to the conflict. Russia will always be with people of Donbass. I express my deep condolences in connection with the tragic death of Alexander Vladimirovich Zakharchenko …. I want to express my condolences to the relatives and friends of Alexander Vladimirovich Zakharchenko and all residents of Donbass, Russia will always be with you”.
Officials from the Donetsk People’s Republic have confirmed that suspects have been apprehended in relation to the attack while others suggested that the US may have had a hand in the targeted killing.