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Pro-war Russian military blogger Zakhar Prilepin wounded in car bombing

A prominent Russian nationalist writer Zakhar Prilepin has been injured in a car bombing which killed his driver.

According to Russia’s investigative committee, which investigates serious crimes, the Russian nationalists’ Audi Q7 was blown up in a village in the Nizny Novgorod region, in the centre of Russia hundreds of miles east of Moscow, on Saturday (6 May).

Russian state news agency Interfax cited an emergency services source saying Mr Prilepin is in a serious condition in hospital and doctors are considering operating on him.

Russian officials blamed Ukraine and the West for the attack and said it would be treated as an act of terrorism, but no evidence was provided for the claim.

Less than two hours after the attack, officials said the suspect had been arrested in a forest in the region.

In a statement, officials said: “The search for possible accomplices continues.”

Commenting on the incident, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram: “The fact has come true: Washington and Nato fed another international terrorist cell – the Kyiv regime.”

She added it was the “direct responsibility of the US and Britain”, but provided no evidence to support the accusation.

FILE Russian writer and publicist Zakhar Prilepin attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. Prilepin's car exploded in Russia on Saturday, May 6, 2023, Russia's state news agency Tass reported, citing emergency and law enforcement officials. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
Russian writer Zakhar Prilepin at a press conference in Moscow, Russia. (Photo: AP)

Russia has also released a photograph showing the vehicle lying overturned on a track next to a wood, with a deep crater beside it and fragments of metal strewn nearby.

Russian security sources claim the suspect was a “native of Ukraine” with a past conviction for robbery with violence.

A partisan group made up of Ukrainians and Crimean Tartars claimed it was behind the attack, but the claims are unverified.

The attack comes after this week Russia accused Ukraine of trying to kill President Vladimir Putin in a drone attack on the Kremlin on Tuesday evening (2 May).

Ukraine denied the attack and the White House said accusations that Washington had a hand in it were “lies”.

Last month Russia claimed another pro-Kremlin blogger, Vladlen Tatarsky was killed in a bombing at a St Petersburg café.

The Kremlin also alleges Ukraine is also behind the death of Russian journalist Darya Dugina – a close ally of Vladimir Putin – who was killed in a suspected car bombing in August last year.

Ukraine denies that it is responsible for the pair’s deaths.

Mr Prilepin is an outspoken champion of Russia’s war in Ukraine and has boasted of taking part in military combat there.

He was the third prominent pro-war figure to be targeted by a bomb since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of its neighbour in February 2022.

Prilepin is a vocal supporter of the Ukraine war on social media, and has hundreds of thousands of followers across Telegram, his own website and YouTube.

He fought for Russian proxy forces in eastern Ukraine’s region of Donbas before last year’s invasion and led a military unit there.

He boasted in a 2019 YouTube interview that his unit “killed people in big numbers”.

“These people are dead, they are buried and… there are many of them,” he said.

“Not a single unit among the Donetsk battalions had such results. It was outrageous chaos what we did there… Not a single field commander had such results as I had.”

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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