The trial of Darya Trepova, accused in the fatal bombing of a St. Petersburg cafe that killed Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, commenced on Wednesday. The 26-year-old Trepova faces charges of executing a terrorist attack, illicit trafficking of explosives, and document forgery related to the April 2 explosion, which resulted in Tatarsky’s death and injured 52 others.
Trepova, who could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted, was apprehended shortly after the incident. Tatarsky, known for his staunch support of Russia’s military actions in Ukraine and extensive frontline reporting, was presented with a bust by Trepova moments before the blast during a discussion at the cafe.
During her court appearance, Trepova admitted to forging documents but denied knowledge of the bomb within the bust, asserting her innocence on the terror attack and explosives trafficking charges. Dmitry Kasintsev, Trepova’s 27-year-old acquaintance, is also on trial, charged with concealing a grave crime. Kasintsev, under house arrest, expressed willingness to plead guilty to a lesser charge of not reporting a crime.
The hearing was adjourned until Friday after a revelation that one of the injured victims had died, with no details provided on the connection to the blast. Russian authorities have accused Ukrainian intelligence of orchestrating the attack, a claim Kyiv has not directly addressed. However, Russia’s FSB alleges that Ukrainian Yuriy Denysov supplied Trepova with explosives, acting on orders from Ukrainian security services.
Tatarsky, whose real name was Maxim Fomin, gained a substantial following on Telegram and was an active combatant in eastern Ukraine since 2014. His blogging exposed various military flaws, often aligning with Kremlin views while critiquing Russia’s military leadership.
The FSB also claims Trepova supported jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, suggesting that the attack could be used to extend Navalny’s prison sentence. Navalny is currently serving a 19-year term on charges he claims are fabricated.
In a letter to a local news outlet, Trepova maintained her innocence, stating she was unaware of the fatal implications of attending Tatarsky’s event, which she claimed was part of a journalistic investigation. The trial continues as Trepova and Kasintsev face significant charges in a case that has garnered national attention.