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DONETSK, June 13, /ITAR-TASS/. Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine, told Itar-Tass by phone that unknown assailants blew up his vehicle and two people were wounded in the explosion.
“My car was blown up. There were three people inside, two of them are in serious condition,” Pushilin, who chairs the presidium of the DPR Supreme Council, said.
“I have not ridden in the car for two days,” he said, adding that he is currently in Moscow.
The DPR press service told Itar-Tass that the blast occurred 100 meters from the building of the Donetsk Region state administration. “We are unsuccessfully trying to extinguish it,” a spokesman said.
Unknown attackers shot dead Pushilin’s aide, DPR Supreme Council (parliament) deputy Maxim Petrukhin, in downtown Donetsk on June 7. The DPR leadership considers it a terrorist attack. Pushilin, who was in an administrative building during that attack, did not rule out that “Kiev agents” could have masterminded the killing.
Meanwhile, DPR Prime Minister Alexander Borodai did not rule out that Pushilin, not his aide, could have been the assailants’ target as the two men look like each other.
Fierce fighting has been underway between the Ukrainian military and militias in Ukraine’s southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which refused to recognize the authorities who had been propelled to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
A punitive operation, being conducted by Kiev against federalization supporters in Ukraine's Southeast and involving armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation, has already claimed dozens of lives, including civilian, and damaged buildings.
Billionaire businessman and politician Pyotr Poroshenko, who had funded anti-government protests that led to February’s coup, won the May 25 early presidential election in Ukraine set by the provisional Kiev authorities. He was sworn in on June 7. Despite hopes that the punitive operation will stop under Poroshenko, it still continues.