An assassination attempt was made on Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the appointed "prime minister" of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR), ITAR-TASS reported.
The attempt was made during the day on August 30, a source in the DNR told ITAR-TASS. Shots were fired at the car in which he was traveling, Interfax reported.
His driver was injured, but Zakharchenko escaped unharmed.
The attack came after Zakharchenko replied to President Vladimir Putin's call on the "Novorossiya militia" to open up a humanitarian corridor to allow Ukrainian soldiers encircled by Russian-backed separatists to escape. Zakharchenko said he would approve the corridor if first Ukrainian battalions gave up their heavy weapons and vehicles. The Ukrainian soldiers began leaving the area of fighting near Ilovaisk yesterday morning, amid reports that they were fired upon nonetheless by separatists.
Zakharchenko was installed August 8, after the resignation of Aleksandr Boroday, and as a man with some military training, said he would make the unification of the separatist command and victory on the battlefield a priority.
Speculation about the nature of the assailants ranges from rival separatists to Ukrainian forces to Russian intelligence but there is no information available at all on the attackers.
There were reports on August 28 that Valery Bolotov, the former "governor" of the "Lugansk People's Republic" was assassinated, after disappearing soon after resigning from his position, citing the need to recover from wounds. The reports have not been confirmed.
Another DNR leader who suffered repeated assassination attempts was Denis Pushilin, former chairman of the Supreme Council. In a June 7 attack, his aide Maksim Petrukhin was killed; on 12 June, his car was blown up while he was away in Moscow, and two people were killed. He left his post on July 18.