Militants in Donetsk have arrested 14 people on charges of planning the assassination of their leader, Alexander Zakharchenko. Four suspects confessed under torture to collaborating with Ukraine, reported Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Pavel Lisyanskiy on Facebook, citing his own source in Donetsk.
“Behind all the arrests in Donetsk and the DPR after Zakharchenko’s death is the operational headquarters of the DPR Ministry of State Security, which was created to ‘investigate’ Zakharchenko’s death. Now they are making claims about two sabotage and reconnaissance groups. And they have already spoken about a Ukrainian trail. They currently interrogate 14 people regarding these groups. According to the source’s information, four have already confessed to collaborating with Ukraine, but it’s a fake. The statements were beaten out [of them],” Lisyanskiy writes.
According to him, the Donetsk “KGB officers” were assigned the task of announcing the successful conclusion of the investigation after Zakharchenko’s funeral.
Lisyanskiy adds that attorneys and relatives are not permitted into the Donetsk pre-trial detention center, and that communications with the DPR detention centers are being jammed.
Zakharchenko’s funeral was held on Sunday, September 2 in Donetsk. Government employees and students were forced to attend. According to the separatists, the event had a turnout of as many as 120,000 people. Delegations arrived from Russia and the unrecognized republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. DPR “Minister of Revenue” Alexander Timofeev, who was wounded in the same explosion that killed Zakharchenko, was also present.
Zakharchenko received a fatal head wound in an explosion in the Separ cafe in the center of Donetsk on the evening of August 31. According to the Russian media, the cafe belonged to his chief of security, and the bomb was planted in the chandelier.
DPR authorities have declared a state of emergency, closing the unrecognized republic’s borders and making mass arrests.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has blamed Ukraine for the killing. The Security Service of Ukraine believes that the death of the DPR ringleader was the result of internal conflict.
The day after the killing, militants closed all border crossings, and cordoned off the city of Donetsk, allowing no one to leave.
On September 1, 19 people in Donetsk disappeared and roughly 50 were arrested.