The Russian Investigative Committee announced that a murder probe had been started. (Representation Image) AlexAntropov86/Pixabay

Vladlen Tatarsky, a well-known Russian military blogger, was killed by a bomb explosion in a cafe in St. Petersburg on Sunday, appearing to be the second assassination on Russian territory of a person closely linked to the conflict in Ukraine.

The Russian Investigative Committee announced that a murder probe had been started.

The governor of St. Petersburg reported that 25 persons had been hurt, and 19 of them were receiving medical attention.

It was not immediately known who was behind the killing. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian Wagner mercenary organization, declared on Sunday that he would "not blame the Kyiv regime" for it.

An influential Russian official, however, blamed Ukraine without offering any supporting data. According to a presidential advisor from Ukraine, "domestic terrorism" is on the rise in Russia.

The foreign ministry of Russia did not claim responsibility for the assault but claimed that Western capitals' silence revealed hypocrisy in their expressions of support for journalists.

Tatarsky, whose actual name was Maxim Fomin, was one of the most well-known military bloggers who supported Russia's war effort in Ukraine while frequently criticizing the army leadership, reports Reuters.

He had more than 560,000 Telegram followers.

"We'll defeat everyone, we'll kill everyone, we'll rob everyone we need to. Everything will be as we like it," he was shown saying in a video last September at a Kremlin ceremony in which President Vladimir Putin claimed four partly occupied regions of Ukraine as Russian territory - a move rejected as illegal by most countries.

According to an unidentified source cited by TASS, Tatarsky received the bomb in a tiny statue as he addressed a crowd of people in the cafe.

A video purportedly showing Tatarsky receiving a statuette of a helmeted soldier was uploaded by Mash, a Telegram channel with connections to the Russian police. It claimed the explosion took place a short while afterward.

Prigozhin claimed that although the cafe was once his, he now lends it to "patriotic" activists who conduct meetings there.

Denis Pushilin, the man appointed by Moscow to head the region of the Donetsk province of Ukraine that is under Russian occupation, made a public accusation against Ukraine.

"He was killed vilely. Terrorists cannot do otherwise. The Kyiv regime is a terrorist regime. It needs to be destroyed, there's no other way to stop it," he said.

According to Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Washington, London, and Paris' lack of response "speaks for itself given their ostensible concern for the well-being of journalists and freedom of expression."

"The reaction in Kyiv is striking where those who receive Western grants are in no way concealing their delight at what has happened," she wrote on the ministry's website.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, wrote on Twitter that it had only been a matter of time - "like the bursting of a ripe abscess" - before Russia would be consumed by what he called domestic terrorism, Reuters reported.

"The spiders are eating each other in a jar," he said.

Tatarsky's death followed the killing last August of Darya Dugina, the daughter of a prominent ultra-nationalist, in a car-bomb attack near Moscow.

The assault, which Putin called "evil," was allegedly carried out by Ukrainian secret services, according to the Federal Security Service of Russia. Ukraine denied taking part.

Prigozhin claimed on Sunday that neither of the murders was likely the work of Ukraine, but rather "a group of radicals hardly related to the government."

The Kremlin has given Russia's war bloggers, a variety of military correspondents and independent commentators with experience in the armed forces, wide latitude to post critical opinions on the conflict, which is now in its fourteenth month.

Last year, Putin even appointed one of them to his human rights committee.

"He was in the hottest spots of the special military operation and he always came out alive. But the war found him in a Petersburg Cafe," said Semyon Pegov, who blogs under the name War Gonzo.

They were shocked to learn of Tatarsky's death.

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