The blast killed Zakharchenko and wounded three others including the minister of finance of the self-declared People’s Republic. He is the latest in a series of separatist leaders to have been killed during the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The bomb was planted in a nearby vehicle, Ukrainian media reported. The conflict in the area previously has killed more than 10,000 people.It’s unclear who prepared the blast. More than 1.5 million people have been displaced by the fighting. Numerous international attempts to secure a lasting ceasefire in eastern Ukraine have been unsuccessful. Now,the Donetsk borders have been closed and an investigation was under way.
Vladimir Putin called the killing a “dastardly” act that aimed to destabilise the fragile peace in the region and the Russian president expressed his condolences to Zakharchenko’s family. The Russian foreign ministry accused the Ukrainian government of ordering the “terrorist attack.” Ukrainian security services denied any involvement in the incident. The Ukrainian security service chief, Igor Guskov, said Zakharchenko’s death could have been the result of infighting between rival separatist factions or an operation by Russian special forces. Zakharchenko, a former coal mine electrician, joined pro-Russian separatists in an armed uprising in Donetsk in 2014 and sold his business to help fund the movement.