This is a follow-up to our previously published article ‘Russian Anti-War Activist Detained in Connection to Cafe Blast‘.
A Moscow court has ruled that a woman suspected of involvement in the bombing of a cafe in St. Petersburg, which killed a Russian military blogger, will remain in custody for two months pending further investigation.
The blogger, Vladlen Tatarsky, was an active supporter of the war in Ukraine and regularly reported on the fighting from the front lines. He was leading a discussion at a cafe in St. Petersburg when he was killed in the blast.
Russian authorities have described the incident as an act of terrorism and have accused Ukrainian intelligence agencies of orchestrating it.
The police arrested 26-year-old Darya Trepova, a resident of St. Petersburg, who was seen on video presenting Tatarsky with a statuette believed to have contained explosives just moments before the explosion.
The Interior Ministry has released a video in which Trepova tells a police officer that she brought the bust to the cafe, but she did not disclose the identity of the person who gave it to her.
The circumstances under which Trepova spoke are unclear, including whether she was under duress. This incident has further strained the already tense relationship between Russia and Ukraine.
According to the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, the bombing that killed Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky at a cafe in St. Petersburg was planned by Ukrainian special services.
The suspect, Darya Trepova, was described as an “active supporter” of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the authorities claimed that she was involved in the attack. Trepova had previously been arrested and spent 10 days in custody for taking part in an anti-war rally.
Although Ukrainian authorities did not directly respond to the accusation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy remarked that he does not think about events in Russia. One of his top advisers characterized the bombing as part of Russia’s internal turmoil.
Despite being arrested in St. Petersburg, Trepova’s case was sent to Moscow, where the country’s top investigative agencies are based, indicating its high priority. In a closed-door hearing, the Basmanny District Court in Moscow ordered Trepova to remain in custody until June 2 while the investigation continues.
Russian law stipulates a life sentence for terrorism-related crimes, but women typically face up to 20 years in prison instead of life imprisonment.
As per reports from Russian media, Trepova informed investigators that she was tasked with delivering the bust, but was unaware of its contents.
The bombing caused injuries to 40 individuals, out of whom 25 were hospitalized. It marks the most recent attack within Russia targeting a high-profile pro-war personality. The previous year, a nationalist television commentator was assassinated in a car bombing outside Moscow.
Maxim Fomin, who had gained over 560,000 followers on his Telegram messaging app channel under the pen name Tatarsky, fought on the front lines for years after joining separatists in eastern Ukraine following a Moscow-backed insurgency in 2014, before turning to blogging.
While the Kremlin has silenced any criticism of the war by shutting down independent media outlets, military bloggers have become increasingly visible in Russia, showing support for the war and occasionally exposing flaws in military strategy.