Trial begins in assassination of Russian pro-war blogger

Trial begins in assassination of Russian pro-war blogger

The woman accused of assassinating a Russian pro-war, pro-Putin blogger claimed Wednesday she had been manipulated and was not a terrorist.

Darya Trepova, 26, faces several charges for the killing of Vladlen Tatarsky in a St. Petersburg café on April 2. Her trial began Wednesday.

Trepova admitted that she brought a statuette to Tatarsky moments before it exploded, killing him and wounding 52 others. But she claimed she had no idea she was handling a bomb.

“I insist I didn’t know I was carrying an explosive device,” Trepova told the court, according to Agence France-Presse.

Tatarsky, 40, had more than 500,000 followers on his Telegram channel and was popular for his blustery support of Russia’s war with Ukraine and occasional criticism of Russian generals’ strategy. His real name was Maxim Fomin.

“We’ll defeat everybody, kill everybody, rob everybody we need to. It will all be the way we like it,” he said in a 2022 video filmed inside the Kremlin.

Trepova was arrested shortly after the bombing. She was caught on video delivering the statuette to Tatarsky.

TOPSHOT - Russian police investigators inspect a damaged 'Street bar' cafe in a blast in Saint Petersburg on April 2, 2023. - A leading Russian military blogger was killed on April 2, 2023 in an explosion at a cafe in Russia's second-largest city of Saint Petersburg, the interior ministry said. "One person was killed in the incident. He was military correspondent Vladlen Tatarsky," the ministry said on Telegram. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP) (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian police investigate the bombing in St. Petersburg.

Russian authorities said the assassination was a plot orchestrated by Ukrainian citizen Yuriy Denisov. They claimed Denisov studied Tatarsky and sent the exploding statuette to Trepova, whose job it was to deliver it to Tatarsky. Denisov remains a wanted man in Russia.

Trepova is on trial alongside Dmitry Kasintsev, who she described as an acquaintance. Kasintsev, 27, is accused of hiding Trepova in his apartment after the assassination. He has been charged with concealment of a grave crime and said he’s willing to plead guilty to the lesser charge of not reporting a crime.

Darya Trepova, a suspect in a bombing that killed a well-known Russian military blogger, stands in a glass cage as she attends a court hearing in the 1st Western District Military Court, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. A military court in St Petersburg starts a trial against a 26-year-old woman Darya Trepova who is charged with terrorism after an attack at a St. Petersburg cafe that killed Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Darya Trepova stands in a glass cage at her trial.

Ukrainian leaders have denied any involvement in the bombing, with a presidential spokesman implying it was a result of Russian infighting. Russian investigators have attempted to tie Trepova to Alexei Navalny, a popular critic of Vladimir Putin, but have not publicly shared any evidence of a connection.

Tatarsky is not the only prominent Russian to be assassinated in their home country since Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Darya Dugina, a nationalist TV broadcaster and daughter of ultranationalist Putin backer Alexander Dugin, was killed by a car bomb in August 2022.

With News Wire Services

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