Russian prosecutors on Friday requested nearly three decades in prison for a woman accused of killing a pro-war blogger in a bomb blast on a Saint Petersburg cafe last April.

Vladlen Tatarsky died when a miniature statue handed to him as a gift by Darya Trepova exploded in an attack that Russia says was orchestrated by Ukrainian secret services.

"The prosecutor is asking the court to find Trepova guilty and impose a sentence of 28 years in a prison colony," the press service for Saint Petersburg's courts said in a statement.

Authorities named Trepova as the culprit and arrested her less than 24 hours after the blast, charging her with terrorism and other offenses.

Prosecutors say she knowingly gave Tatarsky, whose real name is Maxim Fomin, a device that had been rigged with explosives.


Trepova, 26, admitted giving Tatarsky the object but said she believed it had contained a hidden listening device, not a bomb.

She said she was acting under orders from a man in Ukraine and was motivated by her opposition to Russia's military offensive on Ukraine.

Tatarsky was an influential military blogger, one of the most prominent among a group of hardline correspondents that have gained huge followings since Russia launched its offensive.

With sources in the armed forces, they often publish exclusive information about the campaign ahead of government sources and Russian state media outlets, and occasionally criticise Russia's military tactics, pushing for a more aggressive assault.

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Russia saw a wave of arson attacks on army offices after the Kremlin announced an unpopular military mobilisation drive in September 2022.

More than 30 others were injured in the blast, which tore off the facade of the Saint Petersburg cafe where Tatarsky was giving a speech on April 2, 2023.

Trepova will be sentenced at a future hearing.

- 'Very scared' -

In testimony this week, Trepova again denied knowing she had been recruited for an assassination mission.

She told the court she had explicitly asked her handler in Ukraine, whom she knew by the name of Gestalt, if the statute he had sent her to give to Tatarsky was a bomb.


"I was very scared and asked Gestalt: 'Isn't this the same as with Daria Dugina?'" she said, referring to the pro-conflict Russian nationalist who was killed in a car bombing outside Moscow in August 2022.

"He said no, it was just a wiretap and a microphone," Trepova said.

After the explosion, Trepova said she angrily confronted Gestalt, realising she had been set up.

Russian President Vladimir Putin posthumously bestowed a top award, the Order of Courage, on Tatarsky, citing his "courage and bravery shown during professional duty".

Moscow has accused Ukraine of staging several attacks and assassinations inside Russia, sometimes also blaming Kyiv's Western allies or the domestic opposition.

They included the car bomb that killed Dugina and another blast that targeted pro-Kremlin writer Zakhar Prilepin and killed his assistant.

Kyiv denied involvement in those but has appeared to revel in the spate of assassinations and attacks on high-profile backers of Moscow's offensive.

Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said last year that the assassination of Tatarsky was the result of infighting in Russia.

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