The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) orchestrated the assassination of pro-Kremlin official Oleg Popov in Luhansk, Ukrinform reported Dec. 6, citing sources within the SBU.
Popov was killed in a car bombing near Avanhard Stadium in central Luhansk on Dec. 6. He served as a deputy in Moscow's proxy government in occupied Luhansk Oblast, which has been under Russian control since 2014.
"It was a completely legitimate target, because before becoming a member of parliament, Popov was in charge of many Russian volunteer battalions, headed illegal armed groups, and killed Ukrainians," an SBU source told Ukrinform.
Russian media outlets first reported that Popov was injured in the explosion, but later confirmed that he died in the attack.
Ukrainian forces have regularly targeted Russian officials, their proxies, and collaborators in occupied regions of Ukraine as well as in Russia.
Law enforcement sources told the Kyiv Independent on Dec. 6 that the SBU assassinated former Ukrainian lawmaker and convicted traitor Illia Kyva in Moscow Oblast.
Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) confirmed on Nov. 8 that it was behind the vehicle explosion that killed Mikhail Filiponenko, another proxy official in occupied Luhansk Oblast. Filiponenko was a former military commander who reportedly organized torture chambers in the region.
According to the SBU, Popov's membership in the regional parliament's state security and defense committee made him a significant military target.
"The explosion of the head is the best advertisement for the effectiveness of this committee," the SBU source told Ukrinform.