KIEV:– The leader of a self-proclaimed separatist republic in eastern Ukraine was injured in a suspected car bombing Saturday, local media reported. Igor Plotnitsky, the head of the Lugansk People's Republic, "was wounded this morning as a result of a powerful explosion that occurred near his car," the official pro-Russian rebels' news agency said. Plotnitsky, 52, was being treated at a local hospital along with several other people who suffered injuries in the blast in the city of Lugansk, the report said. The rebels' news agency claimed the explosion was an "attempt on the life" of their leader.–AFP

A senior rebel official later told Russia's Interfax news agency that the explosion was a "a terrorist act" but did not go as far as to point the finger of blame at any individual or group.