Alexander Shubin, a military veteran who fought in the Luhansk region of Ukraine during Russia’s full-scale invasion, was killed, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs said the blast occurred in a village in the western Nizhny Novgorod region, according to Russian news agency Tass. It reported that an explosive device was placed under the car and that Prilepin’s injuries required him to be hospitalized.
The writer’s press secretary said he was doing fine. “What exactly happened is not clear at the moment,” she told the Russian media outlet RTVI.
The Investigative Committee of Russia said it had detained a man who allegedly “planted an explosive device” on Prilepin’s path.
“He fled from the scene but was detained by law enforcement officials as he was leaving the woods in another locality,” the Investigative Committee said on Telegram.
The man was acting on orders from the Ukrainian special services, the statement said, but a Crimean partisan group claimed responsibility for the blast. Russia has occupied the Crimean Peninsula since illegally annexing it from Ukraine in 2014.
“The Atesh movement has been hunting Prilepin since the beginning of the year,” the group said on Telegram. “Our predictions always come true, because we not only speak, but also do,” it said. The Washington Post could not independently verify its claims.
Ukraine’s main internal security service, the SBU, told state media that it would neither confirm nor deny involvement in the attack. “We will be able to talk about who is behind this or that case after our victory,” the SBU said in a statement.
The Kremlin said it would not immediately comment on the incident. “It’s unknown. We must first get information from law enforcement agencies,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Tass when asked whether Ukraine was to blame.
But Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blamed Kyiv’s Western backers. She described the apparent attack as the “direct responsibility of the United States and Britain.”
“Zakhar Prilepin was injured. First and foremost, we wish him a speedy recovery,” she said on the Russian network REN TV. “What we saw was carried out by the so-called collective West.”
In a statement issued on Telegram later Saturday, Zakharova offered condolences to Shubin’s family and wished Prilepin a speedy recovery.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told The Washington Post that Kyiv had “nothing to do with the incident” and that there was no “strategic sense” for Ukraine to carry out the attack.
Ukraine’s military intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov declined to comment. “That Zakhar Prilepin is a war criminal — this is an obvious fact,” he said. “All else we are refraining from commenting on.”
Natalia Abbakumova and Justine McDaniel contributed to this report.
One year of Russia’s war in Ukraine
Portraits of Ukraine: Every Ukrainian’s life has changed since Russia launched its full-scale invasion one year ago — in ways both big and small. They have learned to survive and support each other under extreme circumstances, in bomb shelters and hospitals, destroyed apartment complexes and ruined marketplaces. Scroll through portraits of Ukrainians reflecting on a year of loss, resilience and fear.
Battle of attrition: Over the past year, the war has morphed from a multi-front invasion that included Kyiv in the north to a conflict of attrition largely concentrated along an expanse of territory in the east and south. Follow the 600-mile front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces and take a look at where the fighting has been concentrated.
A year of living apart: Russia’s invasion, coupled with Ukraine’s martial law preventing fighting-age men from leaving the country, has forced agonizing decisions for millions of Ukrainian families about how to balance safety, duty and love, with once-intertwined lives having become unrecognizable. Here’s what a train station full of goodbyes looked like last year.
Deepening global divides: President Biden has trumpeted the reinvigorated Western alliance forged during the war as a “global coalition,” but a closer look suggests the world is far from united on issues raised by the Ukraine war. Evidence abounds that the effort to isolate Putin has failed and that sanctions haven’t stopped Russia, thanks to its oil and gas exports.