Russia accuses Ukraine in death of ultra-nationalist’s daughter – National

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Russia’s Federal Security Service accused Ukraine’s secret services on Monday of killing Darya Dugina, the daughter of a Russian ultra-nationalist, in a car bomb attack near Moscow that President Vladimir Putin called “evil.”

Dugina, whose father Alexander Dugin is a prominent ideologue, was killed on Saturday evening when a bomb blew up the Toyota Land Cruiser she was driving, Russian investigators said.

Ukraine, which is defending itself from what it says is an imperial-style war of conquest waged by Russia, has denied involvement in the attack, with Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak calling the accusation “propaganda.”

Dugina, a media commentator who appeared regularly on state TV, was a strong supporter of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.”

Read more: Here’s what to know about Alexander Dugin, the Russian whose daughter died in a car blast

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Her father, Alexander Dugin, 60, has long advocated violence to achieve the unification of Russian-speaking and other territories in a new Russian empire.

In his first public statement on the car bombing, he said Darya had been savagely killed before his own eyes by Ukraine.

“Our hearts are not simply thirsting for revenge or retribution,” Dugin wrote. “We only need our victory (against Ukraine) My daughter has sacrificed her young life on the altar of victory. So please win!”

Russia’s FSB security service said the attack was carried out by a Ukrainian woman born in 1979, whom it named and whose picture and personal information appeared on Russian news websites.

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The websites linked her to Ukraine’s security services and accused her of being a member of the Azov battalion, a unit of Ukraine’s army that Russia has designated a terrorist group.

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In response, Azov said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app that the woman named by the FSB had never been a member of the unit and accused Russia of concocting a lie.

The FSB said the woman and her teenage daughter had arrived in Russia in July and spent a month preparing the attack by renting an apartment in the same housing block as Dugina.

Read more: Daughter of Russian nationalist known as ‘Putin’s brain’ killed in car blast

She had driven a Mini Cooper around Moscow which she used to spy on Dugina and for which she had three different sets of licence plates to avoid detection, it said.

She had attended an event outside Moscow on Saturday evening which Dugina and her father were also at, it added, before carrying out a “controlled explosion” of Dugina’s car. She had then fled Russia to Estonia in the same Mini Cooper.

Russian law enforcement agencies had placed the Ukrainian woman on the country’s wanted list, the TASS news agency reported, with Moscow seeking her extradition from Estonia.

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Estonia’s interior ministry and police and border guard service said in separate statements they could share information on individuals entering and leaving Estonia “only in cases prescribed by law”, adding that the FSB allegation did not meet that requirement. The police and border guard service said it had received no Russian request for information on the matter.

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Putin paid tribute to Dugina as a Russian patriot calling her murder “evil and cruel”, while Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-backed RT media organisation, suggested Russian agents could track the woman down in Estonia.

“Estonia, of course will not hand them over,” Simonyan wrote on Telegram.

“I think we can find professionals who want to admire the spires in the vicinity of Tallinn,” she added, an apparent reference to a 2018 attack in England on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal which Britain said Moscow was behind. Russia denied Britain’s accusation.

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A memorial service for Dugina will be held on Tuesday at Moscow’s TV centre, her father said.

Some Russian opposition figures were sceptical about the speed at which the FSB appeared to have solved the case and have suggested alternative versions of what might have happened.

Ilya Ponomaryov, a former Russian lawmaker turned Ukraine-based Kremlin critic, said on Sunday evening that a previously unknown group of Russian militants called the National Republican Army was responsible for Dugina’s killing.

Ponomaryov’s assertion and the existence of the group could not be independently verified by Reuters.

Russia’s Investigative Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ponomaryov was the only member of the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to vote against the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and he later left the country.

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Ponomaryov, who runs an online TV station from Kyiv designed to challenge the Kremlin’s narrative of the war, read out on air on Sunday a manifesto which he said the group had sent him.

It said the group was committed to overthrowing Putin and building a new Russia. Such statements are illegal inside Russia and those who make them face long jail terms.

His assertion adds to a long list of possible theories about who killed Dugina and why.

Some people believe her father was the intended target.

Ukraine’s Podolyak said he believed the killing was the result of a struggle between Russia’s intelligence services.

“Any attempts to blame Ukraine… for a car explosion in the Moscow suburbs are useless,” he wrote on Twitter.

Some Russian opposition activists have speculated that the murder may have been orchestrated by forces inside Russia keen to discourage ultra-nationalists like Dugin from criticising the Kremlin for being, in their eyes, too soft on Ukraine.

The killing could serve as a pretext for another crackdown on people regarded as internal enemies, they said.



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