Regional minister injured in Ukraine attack on Luhansk
Moscow/Kyiv, May 15 (EFE).- Ukraine struck the eastern city of Luhansk on Monday, with the regional interior minister of the Russian-installed separatist government sustaining injuries in an explosion in the provincial capital, Russian media reported.
According to Tass, Igor Kornet’s condition is “serious,” police said.
“It was an attack. He is in intensive care,” the state-run agency reported.
Russian authorities have not confirmed reports citing security agency sources that one man had died in the attack.
Leonid Pasechnik, the acting governor of Luhansk, a region in eastern Ukraine that Russia illegally annexed last year, said on Telegram at least seven people were injured, four of whom were in a serious condition, including the minister and a 17-year-old.
Earlier, Pasechnik had said that an explosion, which he attributed to a bomb, took place in the center of Luhansk during rush hour.
Russia’s Investigative Committee under the Kremlin said in a statement that an explosive device was detonated at around 1:50 pm local time at a hairdresser’s, according to the Russian RIA Novosti agency.
The state investigative agency opened a criminal case for attempted murder and illegal acquisition of explosives, among other charges.
Kornet has been the interior minister of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic since August 2014.
The attack comes in the wake of successful Ukrainian counter attacks in recent days in and around the eastern town of Bakhmut, where intense fighting continued on Monday, the Russian defense ministry said.
“Assault detachments continued to wage fierce fighting on the western outskirts of the town of Atyromovsk (the Russian name for Bakhmut)” spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.
The Ukrainian Army reported over the weekend that its troops had recaptured more than 17 square kilometers in Bakhmut, which Russia has been trying to seize since August.
“Everything now is difficult in and around Bakhmut. Very difficult. Despite everything, our troops managed to advance for several days,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on Telegram.
She added that the Russians are still determined to capture Bakhmut and are bringing assault units of airborne forces to the outskirts of the city.
“Fierce fighting is going on. The defense of Bakhmut is continuing,” added Malyar, who had reported on Sunday that Ukrainian troops had driven Russian forces from 10 positions in the northern and southern outskirts of the town. EFE