Russian mercenary Arseniy Pavlov, better known as Motorola, was killed in an explosion in Donetsk on Oct. 16. Separatist authorities confirmed Pavlov’s death. Denis Pushilin, the speaker of the separatists’ parliament in Donetsk, called the killing a “terrorist act” and blamed Ukrainian forces. Alexander Zakharchenko, the head of the self-proclaimed republic, echoed Pushilin, calling the killing a “declaration of war” by Kyiv.
Pavlov was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated in the elevator of his apartment building. Previous attempts had been made on Pavlov’s life. He is just the latest in a growing number of separatist military leaders to be assassinated in the Donbas, in a spate of killings that the separatists blame on Kyiv but many others think Moscow is responsible for.
Pavlov was a war hero to Russian President Vladimir Putin and a war criminal to Ukraine.