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Who is Darya Trepova? Accused of killing pro-Putin blogger

BY Anas Shah Apr 03, 2023. 07:27 pm

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A Russian female anti-war activist has been arrested for reportedly blowing up a well-known pro-Putin blogger inside a crowded St. Petersburg café after giving him an explosives-laden sculpture. The Russian Interior Ministry said Monday that it had captured Daria Trepova, 26, in connection with the death of Maxim Fomin, also known as Vladlen Tatarsky. The Kremlin called the high-profile murder of Maxim Fomin, also known as Vladlen Tatarsky, a “terrorist act” carried out by Ukraine with the help of a group linked to imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Tatarsky was speaking at a political debate at Street Food Bar No. 1 when the restaurant was jolted by a powerful explosion that killed the blogger and wounded more than 30 people, eight of whom were seriously injured.

Darya Trepova

Surveillance footage taken just before the assault showed a light-haired woman in a long dark-colored coat going into the St. Petersburg café with a big cardboard package thought to contain the explosives-laden figure. Tatarsky accepts the bust from Trepova in another video taken inside the café.

“Oh, what a handsome guy! Is that me?” he asks after examining the plaster statuette, drawing applause from the crowd.

Darya TrepovaAccording to reports, Tatarsky asked Trepova, who introduced herself as “Nastya,” to sit next to him, but the lady declined, claiming she was too “shy.” A few minutes later, the device went off as Trepova was racing away from the site in a white Volkswagen Polo. The power of the explosion broke the cafe’s windows. Footage from the aftermath showed bloodied victims staggering out onto the street and vehicles reacting to the situation.

Inside the restaurant, photos showed what looked to be a deceased person lying amidst blood-stained debris. Tatarsky, a native of the Ukrainian area of Dontesk, had joined pro-Russian separatists and battled on Moscow’s side after serving time in jail for armed theft. He subsequently rose to prominence as a Telegram writer with 500,000 followers, using his public platform to support Putin’s forces in Ukraine while criticising Russia’s military establishment for failing to pursue the 13-month war more vigorously.

When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Kherson following the withdrawal of Russian forces in November, Tatarsky demanded to know why Moscow had not used the chance to kill him with a drone. Tatarsky witnessed a ceremony in September at which Putin officially seized four Ukrainian areas. “We’ll defeat everyone, kill everyone, and rob everyone we need to,” the blogger said in a video captured during the Kremlin gathering. Everything will be exactly as we want it.”

Tatarsky also had links to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the creator of the Wagner military organization, which was conducting the battle to take Bakhmut, an important city in eastern Ukraine. Prigozhin, a catering magnate and close Putin friend, was also the previous proprietor of the St. Petersburg café where the explosion occurred. Tatarsky was delivering a talk to an audience of about 100 like-minded individuals at the time of his death as part of an event organised by the pro-war organisation “Cyber Z Front.” According to the official news service TASS, the lady suspected of killing the blogger, Darya Trepova, is a Russian citizen who has previously been detained for opposing the conflict. According to Russian media accounts, Trepova was discovered concealing.

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Following her detention, the 26-year-old admitted during a videotaped interrogation to bringing the deadly gift to Tatarsky.

In the recording released Monday, an officer asks Trepova if she knows why she was taken into custody.

“Yes, I do,” she replies.

“Why?” the officer inquires.

“For…I’d put it this way, for being at the assassination site of Vladlen Tatarsky,” Trepova says.

Darya Trepova

The interrogator asks the woman what she had done, to which she replies with a deep sigh: “I brought there the statuette that exploded.”

“Who gave it to you, that statuette?” the officer asks.

The woman sighs again, saying: “Please, can I tell you later?”

Darya Trepova

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Trepova was cited as saying to officers during her detention, “I was set up! They just took advantage of me!” “I’m pretty sure she would never have been able to do something like that on her own,” her husband, Dmitry Rylov, who is thought to be out of the country, told an independent Russian media outlet. “I am certain she would never have agreed to this if she had known,” The Times wrote. According to court documents quoted by TASS, Trepova, an art student, was detained on February 24, 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, for participating in an unofficial anti-war protest.

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