KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s intelligence agency claimed responsibility for a car bombing Wednesday that killed a member of the Russia-backed authority in the illegally annexed Luhansk region.
Mikhail Filiponenko was a member of the local legislature and previously served as police chief. He had survived a car bombing on Feb. 21, 2022, three days before Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Local officials announced Filiponenko’s death.
Filiponenko had organized and participated in the torture of prisoners of war and civilians, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense said on Telegram.
It said that the killing was a warning that “traitors to Ukraine and collaborators with terrorist Russia in temporarily occupied territories … will receive just retribution! The hunt continues!”
The agency said that members of the resistance movement helped carry out the killing.
Russia-backed insurgents declared a separatist Luhansk People’s Republic in 2014 and fought Ukrainian forces relying on Moscow’s military and political support. Russia illegally annexed it in 2022 along with three other eastern Ukrainian regions after invading Ukraine.
Ukraine received good news, meanwhile, on its bid to join the European Union. The EU’s executive branch recommended it should be permitted to open membership talks once it’s addressed shortfalls that include corruption.
In a setback that had been anticipated, Slovakia’s new government of populist Prime Minister Robert Fico rejected a proposal by its predecessor to send Ukraine another package of weapons aid as it fights Russia’s invasion.
Fico had vowed to end his country’s military aid for Ukraine.
The rejection of a package worth more than 40 million euros ($42.7 million) would have included ammunition and air defense missiles.
The previous government was a staunch supporter of Ukraine, sending it arms worth 671 million euros ($717 million).
Fighting, shelling and airstrikes continued in the southern and eastern regions, where five civilians were killed and five were wounded in the past day, the presidential office reported.
In the Donetsk region, three residents in the village of Bahatyr were killed in shelling. In the neighboring Kharkiv region, a man was killed in the city of Kupiansk-Vuzlovyi, where fighting is taking place. In the southern Kherson region, near Beryslav, a tractor driver was killed by a mine and another resident was wounded in a drone attack.
A drone attack around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant wounded a woman and damaged 27 houses and power lines.
Karel Janicek in Prague, and Yuras Karmanau in Tallinn, Estonia, contributed to this report.
Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine