Russia Arrests Suspect in Pro-War Novelist’s Assassination Attempt

The suspect in the car blast that wounded pro-Kremlin nationalist writer Zakhar Prilepin and killed another person has been indicted on charges of terrorism and arms smuggling, Russia’s top investigative body said Monday.

Alexander Permyakov faces up to 20 years in prison on charges of terrorism and 15 years for arms smuggling, Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said in a statement.

Permyakov was detained in the Nizhny Novgorod region east of Moscow on Saturday, hours after the explosion that wounded Prilepin and killed his friend Alexander Shubin.

The Investigative Committee on Sunday published footage of Permyakov in which he confesses to the act and says he had been recruited by Ukraine’s special services in 2018.

State media reports citing Permyakov’s relatives have identified him as having fought on the side of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Nizhny Novgorod’s Semyonovsky District Court on Monday ruled to place Permyakov in pre-trial detention for two months.

Prilepin, 47, rose to popularity for novels drawn from his experience serving in the wars in Chechnya of the 1990s and early 2000s.

A frequent visitor to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict in the spring of 2014, Prilepin was widely reported to be returning from the region to Moscow on the day he was attacked.

Saturday’s car blast is the latest in a number of attacks and acts of sabotage blamed by Moscow on Kyiv since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in early 2022.

A representative for Ukraine’s SBU security service told Ukrainian media that he could neither officially confirm nor deny the involvement of the Ukrainian special services in the car explosion.

The pace and frequency of such acts have unnerved the Russian public ahead of popular May 9 celebrations of Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

More than 20 cities across Russia have so far called off traditional military parades and fireworks displays, citing security concerns and the ongoing war in Ukraine.


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