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Car blast kills pro-Russian village leader in Ukraine

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Russian forces have partially occupied the region of Kharkiv.

PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) – The pro-Moscow head of a village occupied by Russian troops in northeast Ukraine died after his car was blown up, Russian media reported on Monday (July 11).

State news agency TASS said that Mr Yevgeny Yunakov, the head of the village of Velikiy Burluk, in the region of Kharkiv, died after an explosion.

The pro-Moscow “military civilian administration” – which TASS said had been recently formed in the region – called the explosion a “terror attack” organised by Ukrainian authorities.

Russian forces have partially occupied the region of Kharkiv, but the eponymous city – Ukraine’s second-biggest – remains under Kyiv control.

TASS said Russian-backed authorities will be based in the city of Kupyansk, in the east of Kharkiv region.

A former police chief, Mr Vitaliy Ganchev, will head the administration.

Russian authorities have previously formed pro-Moscow administrations in the occupied southern region of Kherson and the partially occupied region of Zaporizhzhia.

Attacks against pro-Moscow officials have increased in both regions in recent weeks.

Earlier on Monday, Moscow-backed authorities of the region of Kherson said they had foiled an attack against their local leader.

Kharkiv suffered major destruction in the first days of Moscow’s offensive, before Ukrainian troops pushed Russian forces back from the city.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on Feb 24.

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