Russia-backed politician killed in car bomb in eastern Ukraine
Moscow hosts top Chinese general for defence talks
November 8, 2023 03:51 PM
A Russia-backed politician was killed in a car bomb in the eastern Ukrainian region of Lugansk, local media reported Wednesday, citing his son.
"As a result of an explosive device that detonated in Mikhail Filiponenko's car, the People's Council deputy was fatally wounded," his son told the Lugansk Information Centre, a news agency run by Moscow-installed officials in the region.
The People's Council is the local parliament of Lugansk, 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.
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 conflict started last February.
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.
There was no immediate comment from Kyiv on Wednesday's bombing.
Filiponenko was a former head of the Lugansk local militia -- the Moscow-backed separatist army that had been fighting against Kyiv since 2014.
Russia hosts top Chinese general
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu hosted a top Chinese general and defence delegation in Moscow Wednesday, for talks to "deepen" military cooperation with Beijing as Russia's troops fight on in Ukraine.
Shoigu welcomed Zhang Youxia, a high-ranking general and vice chairman of Beijing's Central Military Commission in a red carpet ceremony in Moscow.
"We, unlike some aggressive Western countries, are not creating a military bloc. Relations between Russia and China are an example of strategic cooperation, based on trust and respect," Shoigu said, according to a statement published by his ministry.
"I am sure that today's meeting will be another step to deepen the multi-profile links between our countries and military departments," he added.
He said the pair will discuss "further steps to develop bilateral cooperation in the defence sphere."
The Chinese official will meet President Vladimir Putin later on Wednesday, the Kremlin said.
His visit came three weeks after Putin went to Beijing in a rare trip abroad.
Russia has bolstered ties with its Chinese neighbour in the last year, seeking allies during its dragging Ukraine campaign.
Putin and China's Xi have sought to present a united front against the West.