The leader of the pro-Russian rebels of eastern Ukraine, Alexander Zakharchenko, was killed on Friday in an explosion in his stronghold of Donetsk, reports the official press agency of the separatists, confirming an information of the Russian agency Interfax.
The Ukrainian separatist agency DAN said that Alexander Zakharchenko, who since 2014 had been running the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" as prime minister and then president, was hit by a bomb while he was in a cafe in the center of the city.
The Ukrainian security services, for their part, estimated that the death of the separatist leader was the result of a conflict "between the terrorists and their Russian sponsors". "All the accusations made by Russia are false," their spokeswoman Yelena Gitlianskaya added.
Alexander Zakharchenko, who was 42 years old, signed the peace accords signed in Minsk in February 2015 after a Franco-German mediation but he refused to respect the planned ceasefire in the Debaltseve region, where he was wounded in action the same year.