19:51 GMT +316 July 2019
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    A mourning rally for Alexei Mozgovoi in Alchevsk

    Town Mourns Assassinated Militia Leader as Investigation Mounts

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    The town where late militia leader Aleksey Mozgovoi's Prizrak Brigade is headquartered mourned his passing on Sunday, as an investigation into his assassination mounts.

    Around a thousand mourners came to honor assassinated militia commander Aleksey Mozgovoi in Alchevsk, where his Prizrak (Ghost) Brigade militia was headquartered on Sunday.

    Relatives, fellow militia members and friends spoke at a microphone at the event, expressing their grief and condolences.

    Mozgovoi was assassinated in an ambush on Saturday after he and four others drove onto a landmine and were then attacked by gunmen. Two civilians passing the ambush site in their cars were also killed by the gunmen. Investigators from the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic have said that there are several suspected motives including local organized crime groups and a Ukrainian saboteur group.

    "As a commander of the Prizrak Brigade, Alexei Mozgovoi several times said that he will mercilessly fight organized crime in Alchevsk, for which he received many threats from various criminal elements," a source in the investigative group told Russian new agency Interfax on Saturday.

    Denis Pushilin, a representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic at the Minsk talks said that he believes that the murder was an attempt to destabilize the Lugansk republic.

    "This was a calculated attempt to destabilize the situation from the inside. We all knew and witnessed Mozgovoi's complicated relationship between the republic's leadership. However, they always found a common language, and naturally, it would have been pointless to resort to any methods for such a solution," Pushilin told RIA Novosti.

    A mysterious pro-Kiev militia group called "Teni" (Shadows) took responsibility for the assassination, but provided a conflicting account of its actions. Although the group's leader has been repeatedly featured in Ukrainian media, the group's actual existence is unconfirmed.

    A representative of the Ukrainian Presidentian Administration, Oleksandr Motuzyanik, claimed that the assassination was an issue of militias' "internal strife."

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    Tags:
    assassination, investigation, mourning, Lugansk People's Republic, Aleksey Mozgovoi, Ukraine
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