Updated with reports from Fontanka, Mash and lawyer’s remarks.
A Russian woman accused of killing military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky pleaded partially guilty during a court hearing on Wednesday.
Investigators say Darya Trepova, 26, assassinated Tatarsky on orders from Ukraine and working with the help of anti-Kremlin activists, while Kyiv has pointed to domestic Russian infighting.
Wearing a white shirt and black V-neck sweater, Trepova, who is charged with terrorism, stood in a glass cage during the hearing at the St. Petersburg Western District Military Court.
Prosecutors say Trepova knowingly gave Tatarsky a statuette rigged with explosives during an event at a cafe in St. Peterburg in April.
The statuette exploded minutes later, killing the blogger and fervent supporter of Moscow’s war on Ukraine, and wounding more than 30 others.
“I insist I didn’t know I was carrying an explosive device,” Trepova said at the hearing.
She admitted partial guilt, according to the state-run TASS news agency. So did Dmitry Kazintsev, an acquaintance on trial alongside her.
Trepova faces up to 20 years in prison on terrorism charges, 15 years for arms trafficking and four years for forgery.
“Whether or not she knew she was carrying a bomb, it didn’t matter, since it killed someone and wounded others,” said Maria Korolyova, a relative of one of the victims, told AFP.
“She must be severely punished,” said Korolyova.
Around 25 people injured in the attack were present at Wednesday’s hearing, according to an AFP journalist.
Following a recess, the presiding judge announced that the court received information that another victim of the April bomb attack had died, according to St. Petersburg’s news website Fontanka.
Trepova’s lawyer said the death has yet to be confirmed and was not included in the case materials.
According to unverified reporting by Mash, a Telegram news channel with rumored links to Russia’s security services, the victim was 58-year-old “Viktor P.”
The outlet claimed that the man died on Nov. 1 from an “accident” unrelated to the cafe bombing, as a result of which he sustained minor injuries.
The target of the bomb attack, Vladlen Tatarsky, whose real name was Maxim Fomin, was one of the most well-known of Russia’s military bloggers, a group that has risen to prominence since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin posthumously bestowed Tatarsky with a top state award, the Order of Courage, citing his “courage and bravery shown during professional duty.”
Moscow has accused Ukraine of staging multiple attacks and assassinations inside Russia, sometimes also blaming Kyiv’s Western allies or the domestic anti-Kremlin opposition.
Among the attacks was a car blast targeting pro-Kremlin writer Zakhar Prilepin, which killed his assistant and left him wounded, as well as the deadly car bombing of Darya Dugina, the daughter of prominent ultranationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin.