One of Russia’s most popular military bloggers and correspondents was killed by an explosion at a cafe in St Petersburg on Saturday.
Maxim Fomin, better known by his alias Vladlen Tatarsky, was delivering a talk at the venue in Russia’s second city when a blast tore through the venue. Several more injuries have been reported.
Videos circulating online suggest that the blogger was given a statue shortly before the explosion.
Mr Fomin had 560,000 followers on Telegram and was one of the most prominent of the influential military bloggers who have provided an often critical running commentary on Russia’s war in Ukraine.
He was among hundreds of attendees at a lavish Kremlin ceremony last September to proclaim Russia’s annexation of four partly occupied regions of Ukraine, a move that most countries at the UN condemned as illegal.
A St Petersburg website said the explosion took place at a cafe that had at one time belonged to Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner private army that is fighting for Russia in Ukraine.
No individual or group has taken responsibility for the blast. If Mr Fomin was deliberately targeted, it would be the second assassination on Russian soil of a figure associated with the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s Federal Security Service accused Ukraine’s secret services last August of killing Darya Dugina, the daughter of an ultra-nationalist, in a car bomb attack near Moscow that President Vladimir Putin called “evil”. Ukraine denied involvement.
With additional reporting from agencies