Yevhen Ananievsky, who is alleged to have been responsible for setting up torture chambers on behalf of Russian forces in the occupied Zaporizhzhia region, was killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) blew up underneath his Ford Kuga SUV in occupied Berdyansk at around 9:40 a.m. on Sunday May 5.

Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Directorate (HUR) made the announcement on its Telegram channel on Sunday afternoon: “As a result of the explosion, Yevhen Ananievsky, who was involved in the torture of Ukrainian prisoners, was liquidated.” While it did not officially claim responsibility for the killing, it added its usual reminder when making such announcements: “every war crime will receive righteous payback.”

Kyiv rarely claims responsibility for attacks against Russian officials, their proxies, and collaborators, whether in occupied Ukrainian territories, inside Russia or elsewhere. Other social media were not so reticent in laying the assassination on HUR’s doorstep.

Ananievsky, who held positions in the Moscow-installed administration in the occupied areas of the Zaporizhzhia region, was widely believed to have been instrumental in setting up torture chambers on the territory of the Berdyansk penal colony No. 77 and may have been involved in the interrogation of Ukrainian military and civilian prisoners.

Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed the assassination, although they have yet to confirm the identity of the victim. It said it was carrying out forensic investigations and had initiated a criminal procedure and instituted operational measures to identify those involved in the car bombing.

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Zelensky's visit comes as Ukraine has been battling a Russian ground offensive in the Kharkiv region which began on May 10 in Moscow's biggest territorial advance in 18 months.

Russian forces seized the port city of Berdyansk at the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022 and have been strengthening its military presence in an attempt to safeguard access to the port. Russia has also been attempting to develop rail links between Berdyansk and other occupied cities.


Several Russian-installed officials have been killed in car explosions in occupied territories since the start of the full-scale invasion. On March 6 Svitlana Samoilenko, another Kremlin-installed official who was helping to arrange activities linked to the Russian presidential elections in occupied Berdyansk was killed in a similar way.

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