On Sunday, Russian mil-blogger and war correspondent Vladen Tatarsky was killed and nearly two dozen others were left wounded after an explosive device detonated during a pro-Kremlin discussion event held at a cafe with connections to Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The event was held by “Cyber Z Front,” an influential pro-Kremlin Telegram group, at the Street Food Bar ?1 in St. Petersburg, Russia. According to the Russian media outlet Fontanka, the group frequently held events at the location every Sunday, but appeared to have been specifically honoring Tatarsky, who was speaking to the group today. Tatarsky previously fought alongside pro-Russian separatist forces in Ukraine, where he later became a war correspondent with Russian and Wagner forces during the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, where he has also had a combatant role involving drone operations
A video showing Tatarsky receiving some little figurine before the blast. Telegram channels speculate that the bomb was hidden inside this item. pic.twitter.com/t66Dn6JwP8
— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) April 2, 2023
According to Russian media, citing local authorities, Tatarsky was presented a statue from an unidentified female suspect. Footage from the event moments before the blast shows Tatarsky and another attendee handling the statue. It is said that the statue exploded while Tatarsky was holding it in his hands, killing him instantly and wounding others nearby. Footage taken immediately after the blast shows Tatarsky’s body close to where he was seen standing before the detonation.
Pro russians confirming the death of the pro-Putin blogger Vladen Tatarsky in St Petersburg on a smoke incident at an event he organized to recruit! pic.twitter.com/1oxwK4xdww
— Iñ?go (@Inigo_The_Great) April 2, 2023
Security camera footage from outside the event showed that the blast was so powerful that it blew out windows and partially collapsed an awning.
JUST IN: Explosion in St. Petersburg, #Russia at a cafe where Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky was speaking. Footage here, Tatarsky was reportedly killed acc to Russian outlets: pic.twitter.com/76OovZ5JK7
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) April 2, 2023
Russian media have released photos of the female suspect, who remains unidentified. It remains unclear is the suspect was inside the cafe at the time of the blast or had left before the device detonated. Some Russian sources have been quick to blame Ukrainian intelligence for the attack, but so far there has not been any official statements from Russian officials.