Pro-war Russian military blogger killed and dozens injured in explosion at St Petersburg cafe

2 April 2023, 17:25 | Updated: 3 April 2023, 00:52

Prominent Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky has been killed and at least sixteen people were injured in an explosion at a cafe in St Petersburg, according to reports.
Prominent Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky has been killed and at least sixteen people were injured in an explosion at a cafe in St Petersburg, according to reports. Picture: Alamy

By Chris Samuel

Prominent Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky has been killed and dozens of people were injured in an explosion at a cafe in St Petersburg, according to reports.

It was initially reported that Mr Tatarsky had died in the blast, which has since been confirmed by the Russian interior ministry.

It is thought to have been caused by an explosive device, according to sources quoted by Russian news agencies.

Mr Tatarsky, whose real name was Maxim Fomin, had over 560,000 followers on Telegram, one of the most popular social platforms in Russia, and was among the most prominent of the influential military bloggers providing commentary on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

There is currently no indication of who was responsible for the blast, which occurred at at the "Street Bar" cafe in the city.

A St Petersburg website said the cafe had at one time belonged to Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group, an elite paramilitary force that is fighting for Russia in Ukraine.

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According to media and military bloggers, Mr Tatarsky had been meeting with members of the public and that a woman presented him with a statuette which apparently exploded.

He was among the hundreds that attended a ceremony at the Kremlin in September 2022 to proclaim Russia's annexation of four partly occupied regions of neighbouring Ukraine - a move that was condemned as illegal by most countries at the UN.

Russian investigators and police officers at the scene.
Russian investigators and police officers at the scene. Picture: Alamy

Mr Tatarsky was shown saying in a video clip at the time: "We'll defeat everyone, we'll kill everyone, we'll rob everyone we need to. Everything will be as we like it."

According to media and military bloggers, Mr Tatarsky had been meeting with members of the public and that a woman presented him with a statuette which apparently exploded.
According to media and military bloggers, Mr Tatarsky had been meeting with members of the public and that a woman presented him with a statuette which apparently exploded. Picture: Alamy

Military analyst and British former air vice-marshall Sean Bell has said it "looks really unlikely" that the Ukrainian military was involved in the attack because it wasn't a military target.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "It could have been the resistance movement, much more likely.

Emergency services workers at the "Street Cafe" in St Petersburg, where the blast occurred.
Emergency services workers at the "Street Cafe" in St Petersburg, where the blast occurred. Picture: Alamy

"As rising Russian casualties from the war in Ukraine there's increasing domestic unrest back at home."

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