Who Is Darya Trepova? Chilling Video Captures Moment Female Assassin Carries Explosive-Laden Statue into St Petersburg Café Before Killing Vladlen Tatarsky [WATCH]

Trepova allegedly admitted to detectives that she was used as a carrier to transfer the explosive device but that she was unaware that it was concealed in the bust

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Russian investigators have arrested a woman in their hunt for the killers of pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky in a horrific blast in a cafe in St. Petersburg. Darya Trepova, 26, was earlier included in the interior ministry's list of most wanted in Tatarsky's killing. The Investigative Committee of Russia confirmed her arrest on Sunday.

Tatarsky was reportedly given a figurine just before the explosion, and there is concern that there may have been a device concealed inside. Tatarsky, whose real name is Maxim Fomin, was blown to pieces after Trepova, 26, allegedly entered the cafe and presented him with a miniature statue of him that was allegedly packed with explosives.

Thorough Planning Before Assassination

Darya Trepova
Darya Trepova seen entering the cafe with the explosive hidden inside a statue that blew off Vladlen Tatarsky Twitter

Tatarsky, 40, was speaking at a political event at the Street Food No 1 cafe when the device exploded next to him, killing the Russian propagandist and injuring 32 others in what the Kremlin said was a "terrorist attack." Tatarsky was a fervent supporter of Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.

Police are still looking for her alleged accomplice Maria Yarun, 40, although some sources claim that is in the hospital following the explosion.

The Investigative Committee of Russia announced on Sunday that Trepova has been detained at a rented apartment in St. Petersburg on suspicion of carrying out the murder. In her first interview after being detained, Trepova claimed that she had been "set up" and "was being used."

Russia's leading counterterrorism organization claimed that Trepova had carried out the attack with the assistance of "Ukraine secret services" and activists associated with imprisoned Kremlin opponent Alexey Navalny without offering any supporting evidence.

Darya Trepova
Darya Trepova Twitter

It came after a horrifying video appeared to show Trepova, a citizen of St. Petersburg who had previously been imprisoned for participating in anti-war demonstrations, entering the cafe with what might have been a figurine containing 450g of TNT minutes before it exploded.

Trepova was placed on the wanted list for Russia this morning by the Russian Interior Ministry on suspicion of killing Tatarsky after fleeing the scene, but she was captured just hours after the arrest order was made public.

The first picture of Tryopova after her arrest showed her with cropped blond hair, suggesting she had cut it to disguise herself.

Putin's Enemy

Trepova allegedly admitted to detectives that she was used as a carrier to transfer the explosive device but that she was unaware that it was concealed in the bust. Dmitry Rylov, Trepova's partner and a member of the so-called Russian Liberation Army, who is also in his 20s, insisted that she had been "set up."

Vladlen Tatarsky
Vladlen Tatarsky Twitter

"I believe that my wife was set up. I am in full confidence that she would never be able to do something like that on her own volition," Rylov, who has previously been imprisoned at anti-war protests in Russia said on Monday.

"Yes, with Daria we really do not support the war in Ukraine, but we believe that such actions are unacceptable.

"I am 100 percent sure that she would never have agreed to such a thing if she had known."

Darya Trepova
Darya Trepova is seen inside the cafe walking away from Tatarsky after handing him the statue Twitter

He claimed that she "completely misunderstood the purpose" of the statuette she gave Tatarsky.

The mystery got even more convoluted after Russian detectives claimed to have linked a second female suspect, 40-year-old Maria Yaran, to the explosion. She is reportedly being treated in a hospital in St. Petersburg after the bombing.

Witnesses claimed that Trepova gave Tatarsky the figurine inside the cafe while posing as Nastya, and that she was hesitant to approach him when he requested her to sit next to him.

A witness who spoke on camera claimed that Tatarsky was engaged in conversation with a woman who introduced herself as Nastya and asked her questions.

According to a witness Alisa Smotrova, who quoted Nastya, the guards instructed her to leave the bust of the blogger at the door because they thought it might be a bomb. Tatarsky and Nastya laughed and joked. Following that, she went to the door, retrieved the bust, and gave it to Tatarsky.

According to reports, the explosion took place shortly after Tatarsky put the bust on a nearby table. Smotrova described people running in a panic, some bleeding and injured from broken glass.

Darya Trepova
Darya Trepova's first photograph after her arrest Twitter

Russian media reported that authorities were looking at the bust as a potential source of the bomb despite not ruling out the likelihood that an explosive device was installed in the cafe prior to the incident.

Mash, a Telegram channel with links to Russian law enforcement, shared a video that appeared to show Tatarsky receiving a statue of a helmeted soldier while holding a microphone.

It claimed the explosion took place a short while later. Social media videos depict the explosion and the injured on the street.

Trepova appears to have given Tatarsky a bust of himself in pictures taken inside the cafe before returning to her seat. "Tatarsky stopped her, and asked her to sit next to him," a witness claimed, adding that she said she was shy and didn't want to sit too close.

Vladlen Tatarsky
The blast seen from outside the cafe at St. Petersburg which killed Vladlen Tatarsky Twitter

Without providing any supporting evidence, the National Anti-Terrorist Committee asserted that the attack on Tatarsky was "planned by Ukrainian special services" with the assistance of individuals who worked with a foundation against corruption established by imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The arrested suspect was described as an "active supporter" of Navalny's organization. Following the explosion, Trepova had a ticket for a flight out of Pulkova airport in St. Petersburg, but she didn't show up, according to Izvestia.

Although the flight's direction was unknown, there were rumors that she intended to travel through Turkey to reach Georgia.

Trepova was not found when investigators searched her apartment earlier today. However, her mother was reportedly taken from the house and transferred to a police station. Investigators later detained Trepova. She allegedly used a secret web chat to have private conversations with a pal, according to a report by Telegram channel VCK-OGPU.

This indicated that she had arrived in St. Petersburg late last week from Moscow with the intention of traveling abroad to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, via Istanbul.

Darya Trepova
Darya Trepova Twitter

According to reports, Trepova, a former shop employee from St. Petersburg, ate breakfast with her buddy yesterday.

Trepova allegedly texted her buddy after the explosion and said, "I could have died there, I'd rather have died there, I was set up."

No group has taken the responsibility for the death, which could be the second political assassination of a pro-Putin Russian on Russian soil since the war began.

This article was first published on April 3, 2023