MOSCOW, Russia – A prominent Russian military blogger was killed Sunday in an explosion at a cafe in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, the Interior Ministry said.
“One person was killed in the incident. He was Vladlen Tatarsky’s military correspondent,” the ministry said on Telegram.
“Sixteen people were injured,” he said.
The TASS news agency cited a law enforcement source as saying the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device hidden inside a statue given to Tatarsky as a gift.
Tatarsky, whose real name is Maxim Fomin, has more than 500,000 followers on Telegram and is in favor of Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.
The explosion happened at “Street Food Bar No. 1” in the city centre.
A moment of explosion in a cafe in St. Petersburg. Propaganda Vladlen Tatarsky held an event there. He is reported killed and six others injured. pic.twitter.com/lWijn522qN
— CHRISTMAS ????????? ???????? (@NOEL reports) April 2, 2023
A group called Cyber Front Z, which refers to itself on social media as “Russian intelligence troops,” said it had hired the cafe for the evening.
“There was a terrorist attack. We took certain security measures, but unfortunately they were not enough,” the group said on Telegram.
“Condolences to all who knew the great war correspondent and our friend Vladlen Tatarsky,” he said.
The 40-year-old Tatarsky came from the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, which Russia claims to have annexed and which is currently largely held by Russian troops.
The Interior Ministry said police were called to the scene of the explosion at 6:13 pm (1513 GMT) and that investigators were working on the scene.