Russia blames Ukraine for car bomb death of nationalist

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Monday said Ukrainian intelligence was responsible for a car bomb attack that killed the daughter of a leading Russian right-wing political thinker over the weekend. Ukraine denied involvement.

Darya Dugina, a 29-year-old commentator for a Russian nationalist television channel, was killed when a remote-controlled explosive device planted in her SUV detonated Saturday night while she was driving outside Moscow, destroying the vehicle and killing -the. at the site, authorities said.

His father, Alexander Dugin, a philosopher, writer and political theorist who is a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops to Ukraine, was widely believed to be the intended target. Russian media quoted witnesses as saying that the SUV belonged to Dugin and that he had decided at the last minute to travel in another vehicle.

Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, the main successor to the KGB, said Dugina’s assassination was “prepared and perpetrated by Ukrainian special services.”

The FSB said a Ukrainian national, Natalya Vovk, carried out the killing and then fled to Estonia.

In Estonia, the attorney general’s office said in a statement released by Baltic News Services that it “has not received any request or inquiry from the Russian authorities on this issue.”

The FSB said Vovk arrived in Russia in July with his 12-year-old daughter and rented an apartment in the building where Dugina lived to shadow her. It said that Vovk and her daughter were at a nationalist festival that Dugin and her daughter attended just before the murder.

The agency released video of the suspect from surveillance cameras at border crossings and at the entrance to the Moscow apartment building.

The FSB said Vovk used a license plate for Ukraine’s Russian-backed separatist Donetsk region to enter Russia and a Kazakhstan plate in Moscow before switching to a Ukrainian one to cross into Estonia.

Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, denied any Ukrainian involvement in the attack. In a tweet, he dismissed the FSB’s claims as fiction, casting them as part of the infighting between Russian security agencies.

In a letter of condolence to Dugin and his wife, Putin denounced the “cruel and treacherous” killing and added that Dugina “honestly served the people and the Motherland, demonstrating what it means to be a patriot of Russia with the his actions”. He posthumously awarded Dugina the Order of Courage, one of Russia’s highest medals.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharov said Dugina’s killing reflected Kyiv’s reliance on “terrorism as an instrument of its criminal ideology.”

In a statement, Dugin described his daughter as a “rising star” who was “treasonably murdered by the enemies of Russia.”

“Our hearts yearn not only for revenge and retaliation. It would be too petty, not in the Russian style,” Dugin wrote. “We just need victory.”

The car bombing, unusual in Moscow since the gang wars of the turbulent 1990s, prompted calls from Russian nationalists to respond by increasing strikes in Ukraine.

Sergei Markov, a pro-Kremlin political analyst, argued that the perpetrators of Dugina’s assassination may have hoped to foment a split between those in the Russian elite who advocate a political compromise to end hostilities in Ukraine and advocates of ‘an even tougher military action.

Dubbed “Putin’s brain” and “Putin’s Rasputin” by some in the West, Dugin has been a prominent proponent of the “Russian World” concept, a spiritual and political ideology that emphasizes traditional values, restoration of Russia’s global influence and unity. of all ethnic Russians in the world.

Dugin helped popularize the “Novorossiya” or “New Russia” concept that Russia used to justify its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. He has urged the Kremlin to step up its operations in Ukraine.

Dugin has also promoted authoritarian leadership in Russia and spoken disparagingly of liberal Western values. It has been slapped with sanctions from the United States and the European Union.

His daughter expressed similar views and had appeared as a commentator on the Tsargrad TV channel, where Dugin had served as editor-in-chief.

Dugina herself was sanctioned by the US in March for her work as editor-in-chief of United World International, a website Washington has described as a source of disinformation.

In an appearance on Russian television last week, Dugina called America “a zombie society” where people oppose Russia but can’t find it on a map.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday that Washington “unequivocally” condemns the targeting of civilians.

“We condemn the targeting of civilians, whether in Kyiv, in Bucha, in Kharkiv, in Kramatorsk, in Mariupol or in Moscow. This principle applies worldwide,” Price said.

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