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Ukraine

Donetsk rebel commander killed in Ukraine elevator bombing

A major military chief of Ukraine's pro-Russian rebels was killed in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Arseny "Motorola" Pavlov died after a bomb was placed in the lift of his apartment building.

Known by his adopted name 'Motorola', Arsen Pavlov was the leader of the so-called Sparta battalion and was considered to be a leading rebel commander. He was one of several notorious warlords to have been killed in bombings in the past year.

Arsen Pavlov, 33, had quickly risen among the ranks of the separatist, pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine, and was known for his merciless approach; he once admitted killing 15 prisoners of war. According to local authorities, he survived an assassination attempt in June 2016.

The Russian-born fighter worked in a car wash before joining the separatists.

Blame game

Alexander Zakharchenko, the self-styled "prime minister" of the unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic, blamed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for the targeted killing, saying he had breached the ceasefire and therefore "declared war."

Watch video 01:45

Donetsk: Far from normality

However, much of the killing of separatist insurgency leaders in the past year has been blamed on infighting among the separatists.

Ukraine is yet to adopt a law which under the 2015 peace accords would grant amnesty to Donetsk separatists. Pavlov was one of the figures that the Ukrainian government used to back up its assertion that people involved in war crimes should not be given amnesty.

Donetsk has been involved in an ongoing bloody conflict with Ukraine, which to date has claimed nearly 10,000 lives, since seeking its own independence after Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

ss/rc (AFP, AP, dpa)

 

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