The incident happened in the Nizhny Novgorod region east of Moscow, according to the Russian Investigative Committee investigating serious crimes. Prilepin was “with his family” in his car when the explosion happened. The dead man is the driver of the car.

The investigative committee published a photo showing a white car lying on its roof in front of a crater in a forest area and spoke of a “terrorist act”.

Russian news agencies, citing anonymous medical and security sources, reported that the 47-year-old writer suffered leg injuries. The governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region said in the online service Telegram that Prilepin suffered “minor fractures” and that “there is no danger to his life”.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the US, NATO and Ukraine of being responsible for the explosion. “Washington and NATO have fed another international terrorist cell – the Kiev regime,” she explained to the online service Telegram shortly after the explosion. The USA and Great Britain bear “the direct responsibility”. Zakharova did not present any evidence.

Prilepin has campaigned for the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014, alongside whom he fought. Since then, Prilepin has regularly traveled to eastern Ukraine. He defends President Vladimir Putin and his massive offensive against Ukraine, which began in February 2022. The author of novels and short stories, in which he elaborates on his personal experiences, especially in war zones, took an active part in patriotic and traditionalist movements in Russia.

Prilepin has been under EU sanctions since the end of February 2022. Last year he joined a group with the aim of tracking down cultural workers in Russia with “anti-Russian positions”.

In the past few weeks there have been repeated attacks and assassinations in Russia, sometimes in places far away from Ukraine. The country is preparing for the annual celebrations of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.