Russian President Vladimir Putin called the death of the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko a "vile murder" and a "terror" attack.
According to the Kremlin website, Putin considers that the Zakharchenko "killers" chose "the path of terror, violence, intimidation" and allegedly "do not want to seek a peaceful, political solution to the conflict, do not want to conduct a real dialogue with the inhabitants of the southeast [of Ukraine]".
The Russian president believes that those who are behind the killing of Zakharchenko "are making a dangerous bet by destabilizing the situation, in order to put the people of Donbass on their knees. “They will not succeed at this", he said.
Putin expressed "deep condolences" in regards to the death of Zakharchenko.
"I hope that the organizers and executors of this crime will get the punishment they deserve," said the report.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Investigative Committee opened a criminal investigation into "an act of international terrorism" in connection with the death of Zakharchenko, the wounding of "the Minister of Revenue and Duties" Alexander Timofeev and an unnamed girl in the Separ restaurant in Donetsk.
On August 31, around 17:30, an explosion occurred in the centre of Donetsk. As a result of which the leader of the DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko, was fatally wounded. The Russian media reported that the "Minister of Revenue and Duties" of the DPR group, Alexander Timofeev was seriously injured.
The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) suggested two possible versions of Zakharchenko’s assassination: internal feud and the "hand of Moscow." At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that "there is every reason to believe that Kyiv is involved in Zakharchenko’s murder".
The spokesperson for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Mariana Betsa, wrote on Twitter that the quick response of the Russian Foreign Ministry to the assassination of Zakharchenko "serves as evidence that, at a minimum, Russia attempts to cover its supported and financed puppets."
Zakharchenko is not the first leader of the pro-Russian forces in the Donbass, who died violently.
Russian citizen Arsen Pavlov (Motorola), who came to the Donbas in 2014 and lead an illegal armed formation there - the battalion of Sparta, was killed on October 16, 2016, as a result of an explosion arranged in the elevator of his house. Pavlov repeatedly boasted of mockery and bullying of the Ukrainian soldiers captured during the fighting. He said that he "shot 15 Ukrainian prisoners".
On February 8, 2017, unknown persons assassinated Mikhail Tolstykh, better known as Givi, in his office in the base of the Somalia battalion in Donetsk.