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Ukraine denies anything to do with car-bomb attack on pro-Putin novelist

Prominent Russian nationalist writer Zakhar Prilepin has been wounded in a car bombing that killed his driver, with investigators claiming a detained suspect has admitted acting on Ukraine’s behalf.

The attack took place three days after Russia said Ukraine attempted to hit the Kremlin with drones – an incident Ukraine also denies it had anything to do with.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, fired back that Russia was mounting false flag incidents as part of a propaganda war against the embattled nation.

Russia’s foreign ministry accused Ukraine and its allies, particularly the US, for the latest attack on the writer, an ardent proponent of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s SBU security service said it could not confirm or deny involvement in the car bombing.

“Officially, we cannot confirm or deny the SBU’s involvement in this or other explosions which occur with the occupiers or their henchmen,” Ukrinform quoted the agency as saying.

‘An act of terrorism’

Russia’s state Investigative Committee said Prilepin’s Audi Q7 was blown up in a village in Nizny Novgorod region, about 400 kilometres east of Moscow, which it was treating as an act of terrorism.

It said Prilepin had been taken to hospital.

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

Novelist Zakhar Prilepin not only backs the war on Ukraine, he has also fought in it. Photo: Sputnik

The committee later issued a statement saying investigators were questioning a suspect identified as Alexander Permyakov.

“The suspect was detained and, in the course of questioning, he provided testimony that he acted on the instructions of the Ukrainian special services,” said the statement, read by a woman in uniform.

The governor of Nizhny Novgorod region, Gleb Nikitin, said on Telegram that doctors had successfully operated on Prilepin and that he had been sedated to help his recovery.

State news agency TASS quoted security sources as saying the suspect was a “native of Ukraine” with a past conviction for robbery with violence.

Not the only attack

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 Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbour in February 2022.

Russia has blamed Ukraine for the deaths of journalist Darya Dugina and war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky in the two previous attacks, both of which Ukraine has denied.

Ukrainian news site UNIAN ran an online poll asking readers who “in the pantheon of Russian scum propagandists” should be targeted next after Dugina, Tatarsky and Prilepin.

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.”

Prilepin fought for Russian proxy forces in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region before last year’s invasion and led a military unit there, boasting in a 2019 YouTube interview that his unit “killed people in big numbers”.

-with AAP

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