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World

October 20, 2016

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Ukraine rebels bid farewell to commander

Ukraine rebels bid farewell to commander

DONETSK, Ukraine: Thousands of pro-Russian rebels and supporters in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday turned out to bid farewell to notorious rebel commander Arseny Pavlov, who was killed in a weekend bombing.

Some 5,000 people queued outside Donetsk´s opera theatre to pay last respects to the 33-year-old Russian, known as "Motorola", who died on Sunday when a homemade device exploded in his apartment block.

A Russian army veteran from the Komi region, Pavlov joined the fighting that broke out in east Ukraine in April 2014 as a volunteer, rising to prominence after appearing on Russian television broadcasts.

He boasted in a 2015 interview of shooting 15 Ukrainian prisoners of war, prompting Kiev´s defence ministry to say he was lucky to die in a bombing rather than serving an "inevitable" life sentence.

Some mourners carried flowers and black-and-orange St. George´s ribbons that symbolise World War II victory and have been adopted by the Kremlin-backed insurgents.

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