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Russian pro-war writer defiant after car bomb attack

2023-06-08 03:07:52 [Press center 1] source:Al Jazeera

A Russian pro-war writer who was seriously injured in a car bombing said he would not be intimidated by the apparent attempt on his life.

Zakhar Prilepin, a vehement supporter of Russia's campaign in Ukraine, said he survived because he was driving.

The bomb was under the passenger seat, and killed his friend Alexander Shubin, he wrote in a Telegram post.

Investigators claim that a suspect, Alexander Permyakov, has admitted working for Ukraine.

Initial reports suggested that Prilepin had been in the passenger seat and his driver had been killed, but Prilepin said he had been driving himself.

The explosion broke both his legs, he said - and added that he had dropped off his daughter "five minutes before".

"You will not intimidate anyone," he warned those behind the attack. "Thanks to everyone who prayed, because it should have been impossible to survive such an explosion," he added.

The prize-winning author and veteran of Moscow's bloody wars in Chechnya is one of Russia's most celebrated writers, and before 2014 was a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin.

But in recent years Prilepin - long known for his involvement in Russian ultranationalist politics - has seemingly reconciled with Mr Putin and become a strident supporter of the Ukraine invasion.

The 47-year-old has admitted fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and has called for the "return of Kyiv to Russia".

Last year a group founded by Prilepin called on officials to "purge the cultural space" of all who oppose the conflict.

Russia's Investigative Committee (SK), which handles serious crimes including terrorism, accuses Alexander Permyakov of having detonated a remote-controlled bomb, wrecking Prilepin's Audi.

The SK says he was caught in a neighbouring village. The region is more than 425km (265 miles) east of Moscow.

He "admitted doing an assignment for the Ukrainian secret services", the SK alleges.

The partisan group Atesh, which is made up of Ukrainians and Crimean Tartars, claimed it was behind the attack on Prilepin.

"We had a feeling that sooner or later he would be blown up," they wrote on Telegram. "He was not driving alone, but with a surprise on the underside of the car."

The BBC cannot verify Atesh's claims.

Ukraine's security service (SBU) issued its standard response, declining to comment on the attack or to a Russian foreign ministry allegation that Ukraine - backed by the US government - targeted Prilepin.

The attack is the latest to target high-profile supporters of President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine.

Vladlen Tatarsky was killed last month. The blogger had reported from the Ukraine front line and gained notoriety last year after posting a video filmed inside the Kremlin in which he said: "We will defeat everyone, we will kill everyone, we will rob everyone as necessary. Just as we like it."

Activist Darya Trepova, 26, was later arrested and was charged with terrorism following the publication of a video - believed to have been recorded under duress - in which she admitted bringing a statuette to the café that later blew up.

And in August 2022, Darya Dugina - the daughter of a close ally of Mr Putin - was killed in a suspected car bombing near Moscow.

It is thought her father, the Russian ultra-nationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin, who is known as "Putin's brain", may have been the intended target of that attack.

(editor-in-charge:Press center6)

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