A Russia-backed politician was killed in a car bomb in the occupied eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, local media reported. Ukraine’s military intelligence told Kyiv Post it was the work of the local Ukrainian underground operating in the Region.

On Wednesday morning, Nov. 8, Mykhailo Filiponenko, a deputy of the separatist People’s Council and former head of the People’s Militia of the LNR (self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic), was killed when his car blew up near his home, according to Russian media.

The People’s Council is the local parliament of Luhansk, one of four Ukrainian regions Russia claimed to annex last year despite not having full military control over them.

Russian media outlets posted photos of a destroyed dark 4x4 car parked at the side of the road, with blood smeared across the driver’s seat, in what they said was the aftermath of the attack.

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The son of the deceased, Ivan Filiponenko, told Russia’s Luhansk.Inform.Center that an explosive device detonated in the car of Mikhail Filiponenko, causing the People’s Council deputy to “sustain injuries incompatible with life and die on the spot.”

Kyiv Post contacted Ukrainian intelligence to confirm this information and was told that it was the work of the Ukrainian underground in the temporarily occupied region of Ukraine, but no details were disclosed.

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“And this will happen to every traitor,” a representative of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR), Kyiv’s combined military intelligence/special ops agency, said in a conversation with Kyiv Post.

According to Yuri Yurov, a Russian member of the Luhansk regional parliament, this was not the first attempt to eliminate Filiponenko.

“On Feb. 21, 2022, an attempt was already made by the Ukrofascists to assassinate Mikhail Filiponenko. Then, his car was blown up near the building of the LNR representative office in the JCCC (Joint Center for Control and Coordination). Mykhailo Yuriyovych miraculously survived, but the driver was injured,” said Yurov.

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Several high-profile backers of Russia’s assault on Ukraine and Moscow-installed officials in territory seized by Russian forces have been attacked and assassinated since the full-scale invasion started last February, AFP reports.

Last month Oleg Tsaryov, a pro-Kremlin politician that Moscow was reportedly lining up to lead a puppet government in Kyiv, survived being shot in his hotel complex on the annexed peninsula of Crimea.

Moscow has said Ukrainian secret services were behind that and several other attacks, including the car bombing of nationalist Darya Dugina outside Moscow last year and the bombing of military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky in a Saint Petersburg cafe in April.

Filiponenko was a former acting head of the separatist Luhansk “People’s Militia” armed forces – the Moscow-backed separatist army that had been fighting against Kyiv since 2014.

Until 2010, he was a deputy of the Leninsky District Council of Luhansk from the Party of Regions. Since 2020, he has been wanted and suspected of “encroaching on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

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