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Arsen Pavlov, one of the commanders of the Russian-backed separatists in “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DNR”), known under the nom de guerre Motorola, has been killed in Donbas. Denis Pushilin, Chairman of the “DNR” Parliament confirmed this news to the separatists’ news resource dan-news.info.
According to Interfax, who received a confirmation of this news in the “DNR” Ministry of Defence, he was killed by an explosion in the elevator of his house, which was detonated remotely. The Ministry suspects a Ukrainian diversion group in the assassination, Interfax reported.
23:42 According to Aleksandr Kots, correspondent of Komsomolskaya Pravda in Donetsk, Pavlov’s bodyguard was also killed in the elevator.
0:16 In a video, “DNR” Head Aleksandr Zakharchenko says Motorola’s death is a ceasefire breach by Ukraine, saying that “Poroshenko declared war on us, now just wait,” and promising retaliation to Ukrainian soldiers, SBU operatives and their families.
- Arsen Pavlov was the commander of the Sparta brigade, which took part in the battles for Ilovaisk and the Donetsk airport.
- Motorola and his battalion are accused of executing and torturing captured Ukrainian soldiers. He has confirmed executing 15 POWs to journalists of the Kyiv Post (see video).
- Motorola was rumored to have been killed a number of times: January 2015, February 2015, March 2015, August 2016. However, this is the first time that his death is confirmed by the separatists’ official figures.
- In June 2016, Zakharchenko told that an assassination attempt that took place near the traumatological center in Donetsk was an assassination attempt on Motorola.
- Pavlov, from the Russian city of Ukhta, took part in the second Chechen war. He is included in the EU’s sanction list, however, Ukraine had hoped to have him be tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
- On January 2015, Aleksandr Bednov, commander of the Batman militia group, was killed in the self-proclaimed neighboring “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LNR”). On 23 May of that year, Aleksei Mozgovoi, commander of the Prizrak battalion, was assassinated. Their deaths were linked to a refusal to obey the “authorities” of the “LNR.”
- In September 2016, “LNR” Head Leonid Plotnitsky told of an alleged military coup, which was followed by the purge of chieftains of this Russian-backed breakaway statelet. The founder of the Oplot milia group Leonid Zhilin, who reportedly had tense relations with the “LNR” and “DNR” leadership, was one of those killed.
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