The prosecutor-general of the Russian-backed self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in eastern Ukraine and his deputy were killed when a bomb went off at their offices, the head of the separatist administration has said.
“As a result of a terrorist act, Prosecutor-General of the LPR Sergei Gorenko and his deputy Ekaterina Steglenko were killed,” Leonid Pasechnik said in a statement posted on the Telegram messaging app on Friday.
Pasechnik accused Ukraine for the attack, which, he said, “showed that Kyiv’s regime had crossed all possible limits”.
There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian government.
Russian news agencies had earlier reported a bomb blast at the offices of the prosecutor general, citing local officials and the emergency services.
On Thursday, Pasechnik had described a “tense situation” for Russia and its proxies in eastern Ukraine, part of the territory Russia has prised out of Kyiv’s control since invading its neighbour nearly seven months ago.
In early June, Russian and Russian-backed forces seized control of the entire Luhansk province in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine earlier in the campaign, but Kyiv’s recent lightning counteroffensive has pushed the fighting closer to the LPR borders claimed by the separatists.
Ukraine says it has recaptured some 8,000 square kilometres (3,090 square miles) of territory this month, dealing a huge blow to the Russian military and its morale.
After Friday’s explosion, Pasechnik reissued a call for those living in the LPR, which Russia recognises as an independent state, to remain calm and said authorities had the situation “under control”.
On Thursday, he had acknowledged that Ukrainian forces had secured “some successes” in their campaign and were continuing to mount attacks against Russian forces along the entire front line of the conflict.