By Mark Trevelyan
(Reuters) -A Russian military officer who had commanded a submarine in the Black Sea and appeared on a Ukrainian blacklist of alleged war criminals has been shot dead by an unknown assassin while on his morning run.
Stanislav Rzhitsky, 42, was gunned down early on Monday in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar. His address, picture and personal details had appeared on the Ukrainian website Myrotvorets (Peacemaker), a vast unofficial database of people considered to be enemies of Ukraine.
On Tuesday the word “Liquidated”, in red letters, had been superimposed on his photograph on the site.
Russia’s state Investigative Committee said on Tuesday it had arrested a suspect in his early 60s who was found in possession of a pistol and silencer. It published a short video showing heavily armed security officers storming a house and detaining the man, who was wearing only boxer shorts.
Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence agency published details of the killing on its website, without claiming responsibility or saying how it obtained the information.
It said Rzhitsky died on the spot when seven shots were fired at him from a Makarov pistol as he was running in a deserted city park at around six in the morning.
Baza, a Russian Telegram channel with links to the security services, said the killer could have tracked Rzhitsky’s movements on an app where he posted details of his regular jogging route in Krasnodar and how long he took to complete it.
Russian state media and war bloggers said Rzhitsky was deputy head of military mobilisation in the city and had previously commanded the “Krasnodar” submarine in the Black Sea.
A Telegram channel used by self-styled pro-Ukraine partisans who have claimed hundreds of sabotage attacks inside Russia said – without stating evidence – that Rzhitsky was suspected of involvement in a submarine-launched cruise missile strike in July 2022 that killed at least 23 people including a 4-year-old girl in the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia.
Baza quoted Rzhitsky’s father as saying he had resigned from the military at the end of 2021 and been discharged, after a delay, the following August.
At least two other pro-war Russian figures in the Myrotvorets database have been assassinated inside Russia since Russian forces invaded Ukraine nearly 17 months ago. Bomb attacks killed journalist Darya Dugina last August and war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky in April.
Russia has blamed Ukraine for the attacks. Kyiv has denied involvement, suggesting the attacks are the result of Russian infighting.
(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan, editing by Mark Heinrich)
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