Artyom Bardin, the head of the Russian-controlled military-civilian administration in the southern Ukrainian city of Berdyansk, died on Tuesday after being severely injured in a car blast. His vehicle had been blown up earlier that day in an attack local authorities blamed on Ukrainian “infiltrators.”
The city of Berdyansk was seized by Russian forces early in the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev and has remained under Russian control ever since. A powerful explosion hit Bardin’s car as it was parked near the local administration office. Three other civilian vehicles were damaged in the blast, Russian media outlets reported. Photos that surfaced on social media showed the official’s car burnt to ashes.
Who was behind the attack is still unclear. The local authorities had previously said that they were still searching for a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance unit.
Bardin was reportedly the only person injured in the blast. The man was hospitalized in serious condition and his death was later confirmed by the local administration. “According to our information, he succumbed to his wounds,” Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Zaporozhye Region administration, told journalists.
Rogov also said that the local authorities considered the incident a terrorist attack perpetrated by the “terrorists of the Zelensky regime,” referring to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.