'Strelkov' resigns from post following news of severe injury

Following yesterday’s tumultuous and contradictory news that Donetsk terrorist leader Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, a former Russian agent, had been “seriously injured” in a battle near the MH17 crash site in the Torez area, former Donetsk Republic (DPR) ‘prime minister’ Alexander Borodai has told Russian media that Girkin has resigned from his post as “minister of defense.” The DPR’s ‘council of ministers’ approved Girkin’s resignation, “in connection with his transfer to another job,” said the press center for the DPR. Borodai denied that Girkin had been injured yesterday, but did not give a reason for his disappearance.

I just recently parted with Igor, he’s all right. You probably already know it as well as I do, he resigned from his post. Already there is a new Minister of Defense for the DPR. Just like all the members of the government, except for me and Alexander Zakharchenko, he has been dubbed acting ‘Tsar’- that’s his call sign.

The real name of the ‘Tsar’, according to the DPR press center, is Vladimir Kononov, whose job as chief of defense will be approved tomorrow by the separatist ‘Supreme Soviet’. Girkin will also be recommended to the position of “First Deputy Minister/Chief of General Staff” at tomorrows meeting.

Speaking at a press conference, ‘people’s governor’ Pavel Gubarev said Kononov was “recommended as an old and reliable volunteer,” and declined to comment on Girkin’s alleged injury. If Girkin was indeed last seen in the Torez-Snizhne area, this would imply he was far away from the city of Donetsk, closer to Luhansk Republic forces. With Ukrainian forces strengthening their positions around the city, it’s possible a new military leader was needed.

Update:

It appears Girkin is still missing in action

Igor Girkin reported "seriously injured"

Igor “Strelkov” Girkin is seriously wounded. This is what was reported by the separatist media outlet, Novoros Inform. The short briefing cites a source in the leadership of the New Russia (‘Novorossiya’) separatist group.

“Igor Strelkov was seriously wounded. This is what was reported by a source in the leadership of New Russia. The condition of the Minister of Defence of the [Donetsk Republic] DPR – severe”, – the report says.

Self-declared Deputy Prime Minister of the Donetsk Republic, Andrei Purgin, could not directly confirm the report, but did admit that Girkin had recently been in an area of intense combat.

“I do not have accurate information. But most likely it’s true. According to my information, he was not in Donetsk, and near Shakhtarsk, Torez and Snizhne. In this area is very intense fighting,” he told Russian state media ITAR-TASS.

Denis Pushilin, who served as the ‘Prime Minister’ of the DPR before resigning and returning to Moscow, issued a video address confirming the news.

Separate DPR representatives, Vladislav Brig and Sergei Kavtaradze, issued identical statements calling the report “nonsense” in a talks with the Russian media outlets RIA Novosti and ITAR-TASS, respectively, which both labelled as an attempt at deliberate disinformation. The press office of the DPR would not confirm either. Former Ukrainian MP Oleg Tsarov also weighed in, saying he was not injured, though this was prior to the statements of Purgin and Pushilin.

This story will be updated as information develops.