An explosion hit the Separate restaurant and cafe in central Donetsk on Friday, killing the leader of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk (RPD), Aleksandr Zakharchenko.
Zakharchenko was born on June 26, 1976, in the city of Donetsk. He graduated from a technical college and also studied at the law institute of the Ministry of Interior. He began his career as a mine electrician and then opened his own business related to the mining industry.
In 2010, Zakharchenko became head of the non-governmental organization Oplot, established in the city of Kharkov.
On April 16, 2014, Zakharchenko participated in taking over the administration of the Donetsk region, which followed the general protests in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass against violence in Kiev, which resulted in the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Donbass refused to accept new Ukrainian authorities.
In May 2014, he was appointed commander of Donetsk and later Interior Minister of the RPD.
On August 8, 2014, the RPD Council of Ministers appointed Zakharchenko as Prime Minister of the Republic.
Three months later, he was elected leader of the RPD, having obtained 75.5% of the votes.
During the military operation in Donbas, Zakharchenko suffered two injuries: one in the arm, on the outskirts of the Kozhevnia settlement on July 22, 2014; and another in the leg, on the outskirts of the city of Debaltsevo, on February 17, 2015.
He was major general of the RPD army, received the title of “Hero of the RPD” and several orders of honor of the self-proclaimed republic. Zakharchenko also received an Order of Friendship from South Ossetia in 2015.
The RPD leader was 42 years old and leaves a wife and four children.
Those involved in his death are yet to be named or reprimanded, and the exact reason still not known. It is not known whether this was an inside job to remove a political rival or an assassination orchestrated by Kiev.