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Ukraine rebel leader injured in car blast
August 06, 2016
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KIEV: The leader of a self-proclaimed separatist republic in eastern Ukraine was injured in a suspected car bombing Saturday, local media reported.

Igor Plotnitsky, the head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic, "was wounded this morning as a result of a powerful explosion that occurred near his car," the official pro-Russian rebels' news agency said.

Plotnitsky, 52, is being treated at a local hospital along with several other people who suffered injuries in the blast in Lugansk city, the report said.

The rebels' news agency claimed the explosion was an "attempt on the life" of their leader but did not point the finger of blame at any individual or group.

An unnamed source told Russia's Interfax news agency that Plotnitsky had not sustained life-threatening injuries in the explosion.

Plotnitsky, the former commander of a pro-Russian rebel group, was elected in November 2014 to head the Lugansk region in polls denounced by Kiev as a breach of a ceasefire agreement.

Lugansk is the smaller of two breakaway pro-Russian provinces that has been fighting Ukrainian government forces for more than two years.

A suspected car bombing in the Lugansk region in December killed pro-Russian leader Pavel Dremov in what rebels said was a "terrorist act organised by the Ukranian security forces."

In May 2015 Lugansk rebel commander Alexei Mozgovoi was killed in an attack against his vehicle.

More than 9,500 people have been killed since Ukraine's mostly Russian-speaking eastern industrial regions revolted against Kiev's pro-Western government in April 2014.

Kiev and the West have accused Russia of supporting rebels and deploying troops across the border, claims that Moscow vehemently denies.

Agence France-Presse

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