Ukraine separatists mourn Donetsk leader Zakharchenko

Ukraine separatists mourn Donetsk leader Zakharchenko

Ukraine separatists mourn Donetsk leader Zakharchenko

Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Alexander Zakharchenko, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Donetsk on Friday, has been buried at Donetsk's Donetskoye More cemetery with military funeral honors.

He is the most senior Russian-backed fatality of the conflict so far.

A representative of the local authorities estimated that about 100,000 people came to pay their respects, while a correspondent from French news agency AFP said the number was closer to 30,000.

Tens of thousands of mourners gathered in Ukraine's rebel stronghold of Donetsk on Sunday to pay their final respects to separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko, while an aide to the Russian president praised him as a "brother" and a "hero".

During the ceremonies, the center of Donetsk was cordoned off by armed men in fatigues and public transport was temporarily suspended.

Huge billboards erected in the city centre were plastered with pictures of Zakharchenko and his quotes.

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Moscow and separatist leaders said Kiev was behind the assassination, while Ukraine said the bombing was linked to internal feuding and Russia's desire to control the territory.

Putin expressed his condolences for the "vile murder", the Kremlin has said.

Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Vasyl Hrytsak has denied a possible involvement of the Ukrainian side in the death of DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko and tends to the fact that the main reason for his elimination could be conflicts on a commercial basis.

As was reported earlier, an explosion in a local café on August 31 killed two persons, including Zakharchenko, and nine more were injured.

Dmitry Trapeznikov, a top separatist official, was named as acting leader. "Also, there are about 50 detainees, but about 10 have already been freed", human rights activist Pavlo Lisyansky, who represents the Ukrainian ombudsperson in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, said in a comment to the Ukrainian news outlet RBC Ukraine on September 1.

The separatist movement has been plagued by infighting, with several leaders fleeing the region after saying they had been subject to threats from former comrades.

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