Occupied Donetsk Leader Zakharchenko Killed in Explosion
31 August, 2018

The self-proclaimed leader of the so-called  Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Aleksandr Zakharchenko has died after an explosion in a restaurant in the occupied Donetsk city center. 

This was confirmed by Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) spokesperson Olena Hitlianska. 

"Yes, according to our information, this is true. We can assert that it's true. Most likely, it is connected to their internal wars," she said.

"Inauguration" ceremony for "DPR" head Aleksandr Zakharchenko (center) in occupied Donetsk, November 4, 2014.

According to separatist information resources in Donbas, another self-proclaimed DPR leader, the so-called minister of income and tax Alexander Timofeev was injured during the incident too.

The deadly explosion reportedly took place in a restaurant called Separ (Russian-language short form for the word "separatist"). 

This photo shows the self-proclaimed leader of occupied Donetsk region Aleksandr Zakharchenko/ Photo credit: EPA

A source within Donetsk's so-called security forces told Russian Interfax news agency that they have already detained "a couple of people" in relation to the incident.

"We have detained a couple of people, [they are] Ukrainian saboteurs and figures connected to them," he said. "They are suspected in assassinating the head of the republic."

The access to occupied Donetsk has been shut down and extra security measures are in place in the city due to today's incident.

The restaurant called Separ where the explosion took place on August 31. Photo credit:  Instagram/typical_donetsk_1

Igor Guskov, the chief of staff of the head of SBU, told Hromadske that they are considering two versions of events: elimination as a result of internal conflicts and elimination carried out by Russia's security services.

While Russian Foreign Ministry have reportedly told Russian RIA Novosti news outlet that the Kyiv authorities are behind the murder.

"DPR" head Aleksandr Zakharchenko (center, on crutches after an injury) surrounded by guards at meeting with local residents, Donetsk, September 8, 2014

On September 12, Novosti Donbassa news outlet wrote that Kremlin is considering replacing the heads of the so-called DPR and LPR (Luhansk People's Republic). One of the people considered as a replacement was former Party of Regions MP Oleksandr Bobkov. Bobkov, however, denied this information.

"DPR" head Aleksandr Zakharchenko (center, on crutches after an injury) surrounded by guards at meeting with local residents, Donetsk, September 8, 2014

According to the DPR's "constitution,"  Zakharchenko's term in office would have expired in November 2018. Zakharchenko himself stated in January 2018 that the elections would be held fall 2018.

The DPR “council of ministers” has decided to appoint the republic's deputy prime minister Dmitriy Trapeznikov as acting head.

READ MORE: The Coup In Luhansk, Explained

/By Maria Romanenko