Car blast wounds pro-Kremlin writer

FILE PHOTO: Russian writer Zakhar Prilepin (Zakhar Prilepine) poses during a photo session in Paris on 17 March 2018. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

A car explosion wounded pro-Kremlin writer Zakhar Prilepin on Saturday and killed one other person, officials said, the latest in a string of attacks that Russia has blamed on Ukraine.

“Today at about 11:00 am (0800 GMT)… an explosive device detonated in an Audi Q7 car carrying Zakhar Prilepin,” said the Russian Investigative Committee, which probes serious crimes.

The blast comes amid a tense security situation. Authorities reported a series of drone strikes and sabotage attempts ahead of the popular May 9 celebrations of the Soviet victory over the Nazis.

No one claimed responsibility for most of the apparent attacks but the Kremlin has usually blamed Ukraine or the West, rarely providing any evidence.

In the most spectacular of the incidents, Russian authorities claim to have thwarted a drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this week.

Prilepin, one of Russia’s best-known novelists, is a nationalist and a vocal supporter of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, where he fought alongside pro-Russian separatists in 2014.

“The famous writer was injured and the person driving died,” the investigative committee said, launching an investigation for an alleged “terrorist act”.

It published images of a partly destroyed, overturned car and said the writer had been taken to a medical facility.

The explosion took place in the Nizhny Novgorod region east of Moscow, where the writer is from.

Agency Interfax cited a medical source as saying the writer’s condition was considered to be “serious”.

“It was decided not to transport him to Moscow and rather to do surgery in Nizhny Novgorod,” the source said.

Accusations against West

The interior ministry said it detained a suspect born in 1993 and showed a video of a man in handcuffs, wearing a kaki cap and a black hoodie.

Shortly after the blast, and without providing evidence, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Ukraine and the West.

“Washington and NATO fed another international terrorist cell — the Kyiv regime,” Zakharova said on Telegram.

She said the blast was the “direct responsibility of the United States and Britain”.

Russian state-run news agencies TASS and RIA Novosti quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying he was waiting for information from law enforcement services before commenting.

Prilepin is known for novels drawing on his experiences of serving with Russian forces in Chechnya and as a member of a banned radical nationalist group.

Nationalist writer

The shaven-headed writer has been a frequent visitor to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine following the start of the conflict in April 2014.

After the beginning of the full-scale 2022 offensive, he was part of a group of pro-Kremlin figures that launched what they dubbed a fight against the “anti-state position” of Russia’s cultural elite.

They demanded the resignation of some cultural figures over what they said were unpatriotic positions.

The incident comes after a series of apparent attacks and sabotage on Russian territory, sometimes far from the front.

Experts say the attacks could be in preparation for a Ukrainian offensive.

Russia claims that the United States masterminded the alleged attack on the Kremlin and that Ukraine carried it out overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday with two drones, aiming to kill President Vladimir Putin. Both denied the charges.

On Thursday, a drone was shot down near an airbase in Sevastopol in the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014.

The same day, Russia’s southern Krasnodar and Rostov regions, both near Ukraine, reported drone strikes that caused fires. On Friday, another fire broke out at the same place in Krasnodar, an oil refinery.

On Saturday, the Moscow-appointed governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said Russian forces had downed a Ukrainian missile over the peninsula.

There have also been two previous killings of nationalist figures which Russia has blamed on Ukraine.

In April, a blast from a statuette rigged with explosives killed 40-year-old pro-Kremlin military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky.

The Kremlin said the attack had been orchestrated by Ukraine with the help of supporters of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, but observers said the bombing attack could be used to justify a further crackdown on critics.

And last August Darya Dugina, the daughter of a prominent ultranationalist intellectual, was killed in a car bombing outside Moscow, which Russia blamed on Ukraine. Kyiv denied the charges.

Read more Daily Tribune stories at:

Follow us on social media
Facebook: @tribunephl
Youtube: TribuneNow
Twitter: @tribunephl
Instagram: @tribunephl
Threads: @tribunephl
TikTok: @dailytribuneofficial