Daria Trepova suspected of being involved with Ukrainian special services

Vladlen Tatarsky's killer Daria Trepova suspected of working for Ukraine

The Investigative Committee of Russia announced the arrest of Daria Trepova in St. Petersburg. The woman is suspected of her participation in an explosion in a cafe where military correspondent Vladlen Tatarsky (real name Maxim Fomin) was killed.

After the explosion, Trepova went to a rented apartment located about 800 meters from the cafe. She changed her clothes there and left the crime.

Daria went to the Vyborgsky district of St. Petersburg to another rented apartment, where she planned to stay afterwards. She bought an airplane ticket from Pulkovo Airport, but that move was meant to mislead investigators as Trepova never went to the airport.

The police tracked her way to the second rented apartment and detained the woman there on April 3.

Investigators believe that Daria Trepova could be unwittingly used to kill the military correspondent. It is believed that Daria might have been unaware of the improvised explosive device inside the bust sculpture that she presented as a gift to Vladlen Tatarsky.

She brought the bust in a box to the meeting with the military correspondent in the cafe. Security did not want to let her in, but Daria asked Tatarsky to help, and she was eventually allowed to enter. There were no screening devices or metal detector in the cafe.

Investigators believe that the operation to assassinate Tatarsky was prepared beforehand. It had several players involved, each playing their specific roles.

Immediately after the arrest, Daria Trepova said that she was not involved in the assassination of the military correspondent.

Trepova told her friend Yulia about that after the explosion. According to Yulia, Daria texted her friends last at around 20:00. When Yulia read the news about the explosion, she tried to contact her friend Daria Trepova. The latter did not answer immediately, but some time later she showed an emotional and even hysterical reaction claiming that "she was set up." It was said that the chat was later deleted from a messenger, and Daria stopped communicating.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs later published a video with Trepova's confession. She stated that she brought the bust to the cafe. When asked who she received it from, she said that she would answer the question later.

Russia's National Anti-Terrorism Committee called the killing of the military correspondent a terrorist act planned by Ukrainian special services. According to the department, persons collaborating with Alexei Navalny's* Anti-Corruption Foundation** (**known for the Russian initials as FBK, included by the Ministry of Justice in the register of organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent, recognized as an extremist organization and banned in Russia; *included in the list of terrorists) were involved in the crime. Daria Trepova is an active FBK supporter, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee said.

Military correspondent Vladlen Tatarsky was holding an evening event at Street Food Bar No. 1 in St. Petersburg on April 2 at night. About a hundred people came for the event. One of the visitors presented Tatarsky with a figurine. He was clearly familiar with her, as he called her by her name — Nastya. Tatarsky turned the gift over in his hands and invited Nastya to sit next to him, but she refused and stepped away. Daria Trepova was clearly nervous at that moment, one of the guests said. After presenting the gift, Daria was on her phone and then the explosion occurred.

Tatarsky was killed in the blast. Up to 40 people were hurt. Six remain in severe condition.

The radio-controlled caseless bomb had a capacity of 300 to 450 grams of TNT.

Daria Trepova will be in jail until June 2, 2023. She was charged with committing a terrorist attack. Trepova's lawyer is Daniil Berman, who last week represented the interests of Evan Gershkovich, a WSJ journalist who was accused of espionage.

During interrogation, Daria Trepova said that she met an activist online who offered her to move to Kyiv and join a local media as an editor. In order to do this, she was supposed to complete a number of tasks. Delivering a bomb bust was one of them. Trepova claims that she did not know what the figurine contained.

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin
Editor Dmitry Sudakov