Vladimir Putin was left reeling after Ukrainian partisans launched a series of devastating attacks that killed at least seven people. The strikes occurred on Friday and targeted Russian officials and collaborators in Luhansk city, Kherson and Berdiansk in Zaporizhzhia province. Pro-Russian separatists blamed Kyiv for the spate of killings and said Ukraine was waging a campaign of terrorism and “bloody crimes”.
Ukraine has previously said it would target collaborators who work for or with Russian-installed administrations in occupied territories.
In Luhansk city, a bomb exploded at the building of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
The explosion killed the prosecutor-general of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), Sergei Gorenko.
His deputy Ekaterina Steglenko also perished in the blast, the aftermath of which was captured on video.
One clip posted by the Russian blogger “Military Informer” depicts a scene of chaos and panic.
Members of the public are seen running away from the building, as smoke from the blast billows from the offices.
Images from the Russian media outlet Izvestia also show firefighters at the building.
The deaths of the two officials were confirmed by Russian-appointed LPR administrator Leonid Pasechnik on his Telegram channel.
He pointed the finger of blame at Kyiv and called Ukraine a “terrorist state”.
However, Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the deaths were either the work of organised crime or a Russian purge of witnesses to “war crimes” in the area.
Two more Russian-installed officials were killed in Berdiansk on the same day.
Oleg Boyko, deputy head of the administration, and his wife Lyudmilla were killed near their garage overnight.
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Three people were killed and another thirteen were injured, according to the Russian RIA news agency.
Serhiy Khlan, an aide to the ousted Ukrainian head of the Kherson region, broke the news of the attack in a post to his Facebook page.
He wrote: “In Kherson a missile flew into the courtyard of a building where the so-called ‘government’ occupiers and military-civil administration of traitors were meeting.
“Every such hit brings our history closer.”