On Sunday a Russian military blogger, Vladlen Tatarsky who has been highly critical of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine was “assassinated” on Sunday when a bomb exploded at a café in St Petersburg.
At least 32 people were injured in the bomb blast and reports say that 10 are in a serious condition in hospital.
According to Russian news agency TASS, anti-terrorism officials have accused the Ukrainian intelligence services of being behind the bomb blast which killed Tatarsky.
They claim that “agents” from the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) who are a banned campaign group which was set up by Vladimir Putin opposition figure Alexei Navalny were involved.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has said that a woman has been detained over the bomb blast and Daria Trepova, 26, has been detained.
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Russian media have said that a CCTV recording shows Trepova walking into the café carrying a box and within minutes of her leaving the café blew up killing Tatarsky.
the detained Daria Trepova:
Do you understand why you were taken into custody?
– I understand.
– For what?
– Because I was at the scene of the murder of Vladlen Tatarski. I brought the statue there, which exploded.
Who gave you this statue?
– Can I tell you later? pic.twitter.com/Jo0baSs2yz
— Spriter (@Spriter99880) April 3, 2023
Investigators claim a bomb was placed inside a bust which was inside a box to kill the military blogger which was given to him as a gift.
However expert Philip Ingram told Sky News that the “assassination” of the blogger could be a “message” for the Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Possible bombing at a cafe in St Petersburg that killed a military commander. Terrorist attacks are now beginning to become a norm in Russian territory…
The explosion occurred in a cafe in St. Petersburg, where the creative evening of the military commander Vladlen Tatarsky… pic.twitter.com/ImQhVh6Xws
— GraphicW (@GraphicW5) April 2, 2023
The former senior military intelligence officer Ingram said that the bomb blast could have been carried out by Russian officials.
Ingram said that the military blogger was seen as part of Prigozhin’s inner team” who was supportive of the Wagner chief.
He said that there is much speculation that the bomb blast “could have been sending a message to Prigozhin” and that the Wagner chief does not believe that Ukraine was behind the attack.
“That translates into real tensions on the ground,” Ingram added.
The moment of an explosion in a cafe in St. Petersburg. Propagandist Vladlen Tatarsky held an event there. He is reportedly killed and six others were wounded. pic.twitter.com/lWijn522qN
— NOËL 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 (@NOELreports) April 2, 2023
Ingram was asked if Ukraine was not behind the attack, then who could it have been, he said, “it could have been the Russians.
“It could have been the FSB [Russian security service], it could have been someone in the centre, trying to send a message to Prigozhin.”
MFA: #Kievregime hated #VladlenTatarsky’s professional work and service to his homeland. They saw him as a danger, but he did his duty and was true to his courageous self until the end. We would like to convey our sincere condolences to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/5KqAcD6K8g
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) April 3, 2023
Ingram described the bomb attack at the café in St Petersburg as “something spectacular that we’ve seen in the past.”
He added that Russia “like[s] to do something spectacular because it’s all about sending the message.”
He also said that Tatasky also known as Maxim Fomin was very “critical” publicly about the Russian Foreign Ministry and since the war in Ukraine started those who have criticised Putin’s war “have fallen out of windows have fallen down the stairs… expanding on that is a possibility.”