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Ukraine Claims Responsibility for Assassination of Kremlin-Backed Official in Car Bombing

In a shocking development, Ukraine has admitted responsibility for the assassination of a Russia-backed official in a car bombing that took place in the occupied eastern city of Luhansk. The victim, Mikhail Filiponenko, a former military leader and lawmaker in the Kremlin-installed assembly, had deep ties to the pro-Russian separatist movement in the region dating back to 2014.

Both Ukrainian and Russian authorities confirmed that Filiponenko lost his life in a car bombing early on Wednesday. What’s even more striking is that Ukraine’s military intelligence service immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, sending a clear warning to others associated with “terrorist Russia.”

Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence released a statement on Telegram, saying, “A special operation to eliminate the executioner Filiponenko was implemented together with representatives of the resistance movement.” Russia’s Investigative Committee, in response, launched a criminal investigation into the explosion.

The bomb went off at 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, eliminating Filiponenko, who had been known for his involvement in organizing torture chambers in the occupied territories of Luhansk. These chambers were where prisoners of war and civilian hostages endured inhumane torture, often at the hands of Filiponenko himself.

The allegations against him, backed by Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence, indicate the brutal nature of his actions in the region. This incident also highlights the broader issue of widespread torture against Ukrainians in territories occupied by Russia.

A report from August uncovered that nearly half of Ukrainians held in Russian detention centers in Kherson were subjected to torture, including sexual violence. Ukrainian prosecutors also initiated over 3,000 criminal cases in September related to Russia’s alleged crimes against children in the country, particularly focusing on acts of torture.

In a stern message, Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence posted Filiponenko’s address and warned that they know the whereabouts of other “traitors” serving “terrorist Russia” in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. It was emphasized that all war criminals and collaborators would face the consequences of their actions.

This tragic incident is just one in a series of assassination attempts against Russian-backed officials in occupied Ukraine, illustrating the volatile situation in the region. It’s important to note that Luhansk is one of the four regions unilaterally annexed by Russia in September the previous year, along with Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia. Both Luhansk and Donetsk have been at the center of ongoing fighting since 2014, while Russian forces have occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia since the full-scale invasion in 2022.

These regions have been marred by violence and instability, and the situation is further complicated by Moscow’s attempts to legitimize its control through controversial elections. The incident involving Filiponenko adds another layer of complexity to the already tense relations between Russia and Ukraine.

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