Ukraine war: Car bomb leaves head of Russian-occupied Berdiansk 'fighting for his life'

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By Euronews  with AFP, Reuters
Russian servicemen stand near their military vehicles in Berdiansk with the Azov Sea in the background,
Russian servicemen stand near their military vehicles in Berdiansk with the Azov Sea in the background,   -  Copyright  Credit: AP Photo

The Russian-installed leader of a southern Ukrainian city was badly injured in a blast on Tuesday, a local official said, the latest in a series of apparent assassination attempts in occupied areas of southern Ukraine.

Artyom Bardin, head of the administration set up by the Russians in the port city of Berdiansk, was taken to hospital "in serious condition" after a bomb exploded in his vehicle, according to local authorities in this city.

His death had been initially announced by the local administration, but this was seemingly premature.

Vladimir Rogov, an official in the Russian-backed administration of the Zaporizhzhia region, blamed the Ukrainian government, telling Reuters that Bardin was fighting for his life after suffering major blood loss and losing a leg.

Berdiansk, an Azov Sea port of around 100,000 people, was captured by Russian troops in February.

Bardin wasn’t the first official to be targeted in recent weeks. The city's deputy chief of traffic police died on August 26th after being wounded in a bomb blast, local officials said, while Alexei Kovalev, a former lawmaker turned Russian-backed official in Kherson region, was shot dead on 30 August.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces are continuing their counter-offensive in the east of the country.

On Wednesday morning Ukraine's military said its ground forces had attacked seven Russian command points and 13 "objects of concentration of Russia's manpower", without giving further details.

Ukrainian forces have also attacked the Russian-held town of Balakliia in the Kharkiv region, a senior pro-Moscow separatist official said.