Former Russian deputy PM wounded by shelling in Donetsk

Dmitry Rogozin says he was struck by shrapnel during an attack on a hotel in eastern Ukraine.

Dmitry Rogozin
Rogozin is a staunch supporter of Russia's offensive in Ukraine [File: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

A former Russian deputy prime minister says he has been wounded during the shelling of a hotel in a Russian-controlled area of eastern Ukraine.

Dmitry Rogozin, who also once led Russia’s space agency, said on Thursday that he had been hit by shrapnel above the shoulder blade when the attack on the building, located on the outskirts of Donetsk city, took place a day earlier.

The 59 year old, a staunch supporter of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, claimed in a post on his Telegram channel that he would require an operation following the incident.

“We have lived in this hotel all the last months, and for eight years the enemy has never shelled this place. Someone leaked information, and around 19:45 there were several high-precision hits, including in the place where we were directly located,” Rogozin said.

Rogozin has in recent months reportedly been involved with a team of military advisers providing support to pro-Russian forces fighting alongside Moscow’s troops in Ukraine’s east.

Donetsk city, the capital of the wider Donetsk region, has been controlled since 2014 by Kremlin-backed separatists, who have repeatedly accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the urban hub.

According to Russian media reports, Vitaly Khotsenko, the Moscow-appointed head of the government of the self-proclaimed, breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, was also wounded in Wednesday’s shelling.

Denis Pushilin, the Russian-installed administrator of the portion of Donetsk controlled by Moscow, was quoted by Russia’s RIA news agency as saying that two more people who were next to Rogozin and Khotsenko died in the attack.

Donetsk is one of four partly-occupied regions, along with Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia, that Moscow unilaterally moved to annex in September.

Combined, Luhansk and Donetsk form eastern Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region – the site of recent bitter fighting between Moscow’s forces and Ukrainian troops.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies