Sputnik has compiled a list of major assassination attempts targeting the heads of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, starting from the latest ones.
• On the morning of May 8, 2017, a bomb went off on a part of a motorway leading to Savur-Mohyla, a strategic height in the Donetsk region, shortly before a group of journalists and Alexander Zakharchenko’s cortege were to pass by. The authorities then identified the explosion as a terrorist act targeting Zakharchenko.
• On 25 August, 2016 Zakharchenko reported that a bomb had been deactivated three days earlier near his house.
• In Lugansk, on 6 August, 2016, there was a murder attempt against the then head of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Lugansk, Igor Plotnitsky. An explosion occurred on the road that his car was moving on. Plotnitsky was rushed to hospital and on August 19 he was back at work.
• On 28 April, 2016 the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic’s State Security Ministry reported a failed attempt to murder the head of the self-proclaimed republic Alexander Zakharchenko in a terrorist attack. According to the botched plan, a blast was planned in the Donetsk shooting range Artemis during Zakharchenko’s next visit there. The ministry reported detaining a number of citizens from Kiev-controlled territory, who carried a powerful explosive device.
• On 19 February, 2015 Alexander Zakharchenko told journalists visiting him in hospital, that he had been targeted by a sniper in the town of Debaltsevo in the Donetsk region, where he was injured in the leg on February 17.
• On January 30, 2015 there was a murder attempt against Donetsk’s head, however, the shooter missed the target and killed Zakharchenko’s bodyguard instead. Later, the guerrilla group “Shadows” claimed responsibility for the attack.
• On August 30, 2014 there was an assassination attempt against self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic’s head Alexander Zakharchenko. According to a member of the Donetsk Security Council, Sergei Kavtaradze, several gunshots targeted a car carrying Zakharchenko, leaving the driver injured. Zakharchenko sustained no injuries in the incident. Kavtaradze refused to name the area where the murder attempt had occurred.
Alexander Zakharchenko joined the Donetsk militia forces following a 2014 coup in Kiev and was elected leader of the Donetsk People's Republic in November 2014.
In 2014, Kiev kicked off a military operation against the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in the Donbass region. The two republics deemed the new US-backed government in Kiev to be illegitimate, adding that it seized power in what they perceived to be a coup.