Berdyansk local chief died in hospital after being seriously injured in car explosion
Artyom Bardin, the head of the Russian-controlled military-civilian administration in the southern Ukrainian city of Berdyansk, died on Tuesday after being seriously injured in a car explosion. His vehicle had exploded earlier in the day in an attack local authorities blamed on the Ukrainian “infiltrators.”
The city of Berdyansk was seized by Russian forces at the start of the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kyiv and has remained under Russian control ever since. A powerful explosion hit Bardin’s car as it was parked near the local government office. Three other civilian vehicles were damaged in the blast, Russian media reported. Photos that surfaced on social media showed the official’s car burned to ashes.
Who was behind the attack is still unclear. Local authorities had previously said 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 injuries,” Vladimir Rogov, member of the administration of Zaporozhye region, told reporters.
⚡️Раненый при взрыве машины в центре Бердянска "комендант города" Артем Бардин госпитализирован в тяжелом состоянии в больницу… pic.twitter.com/UqKbeKiuwF
– 50+ (@PqqJydj0SfynTox) September 6, 2022
Rogov also said that local authorities consider the incident to be a terrorist attack carried out by the “terrorists of the Zelensky regime”, reference to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
This is not the first such case in the Russian-controlled region of southern Ukraine. At the end of August, the deputy commander of the local traffic police in Berdyansk, Alexander Kolesnikov, was killed in a similar incident.
Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, citing kyiv’s failure to implement the Minsk Accords, intended to give Donetsk and Luhansk regions special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that kyiv’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to save time and “to create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbas republics as independent states and asked Ukraine to officially declare itself a neutral country that would never join any Western military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked.