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Kremlin denies any Russian involvement in murder of Donbass militia commander

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the murder of Mikhail Tolstykh an attempt to destabilize the situation in Donbass

MOSCOW, February 8. /TASS/.The murder of one of Donbass militia commanders Mikhail Tolstykh is an attempt to destabilize the situation in the region, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, denying any Russia’s involvement in the crime.

"It is evident that these are the attempts to destabilize the situation in Donbass," Peskov said. "Certainly, we hope that there is a margin of safety and those who are behind these crimes won’t manage to bring about further escalation as unfortunately the situation remains very tense due to the aggressive steps of the Ukrainian side," he said.

He denied any Russian involvement in such crimes. "We absolutely and unequivocally deny accusations against Russia on the possible involvement in this. This is out of question," Peskov stressed.

"As for who is behind the attempts to destabilize the situation, they should be identified during the investigation carried out at the scene," he added.

Commander of Somali unit Mikhail Tolstykh, better known as Givi, was killed in a terrorist attack in Donetsk on Wednesday, the Donetsk News Agency reported citing the operations command of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. An investigation team is working at the scene, the report said.

This is not the first terrorist attack in Donetsk that has left a militia commander dead. Arsen Pavlov, commander of the Sparta battalion, known as Motorola, was killed by an explosive device on October 16. DPR head, Alexander Zakharchenko, accused chief of Ukraine’s Security Service department in the Donetsk region, Vitaly Marikov, and representatives of the Security Service Joint Staff of being involved in Pavlov’s murder.