The motives and reasons for the assassination of the head the so-called People’s militia of Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), Oleg Anashchenko, are still unknown. The separatist accused the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) of executing the killing. Ukrainian officials believe that the assassination was conducted by the Russian secret services or was just a result of an internal feud.
According to the head of the Ukrainian social movement Prava Sprava, Dmytro Snegiryov, Anashchenko was previously involved in the coup against Igor Plotnitsky.
In September 2016, several organizers of the coup were arrested in Luhansk. They were accused of planning to remove Plotnitsky from power and bring in the former leader of the LPR, Valery Bolotov.
One of the detained, reportedly, pointed out several people who were directly linked to this coup attempt. Anashchenko was among them. Although because the head of the militia had a direct contact with Russian supervisors, Plotnitsky could not arrest him. According to Snegiryov, it was Plotnitsky who ordered Anashchenko's assassination.
Ukrainian journalist, Yuriy Butusov, believes that Anashchenko was a potential successor of Plotnitsky. The journalist writes that Anashchenko was as influential in LPR as the head of the so-called Ministry of State Security of LPR, Leonid Pasechnik.
After Anashchenko’s death, there are only two more people in the republic who have direct contacts with Russia: Pasechnik and Plotnitsky.
“Something tells me that the power struggle of the criminals in Luhansk will continue until one of them gets his opponent,” Butusov wrote on his Facebook page.
Another Ukrainian journalist, Alexey Zavodyuk, believes that “ by killing Anashchenko the Russian sponsors decided to strengthen the position of the head of the LPR, Plotnitsky, giving him the control over the whole republic”.
The LPR authorities accused Ukraine of plotting the assassination. On February 5, the representatives of the so-called Ministry of Internal Affairs of LPR reported that they allegedly arrested a Major of the Ukrainian Armed Forces who allegedly confessed in assassination of Anashchenko.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense denied this information saying that all the servicemen continue to conduct their tasks and that this information is likely fake.