Donetsk — Tens of thousands of mourners thronged the streets in Ukraine’s rebel stronghold of Donetsk on Sunday to pay their final respects to an assassinated separatist leader, who was praised as a "brother" and a "hero" by an aide of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Crowds of admirers clapped and shouted "spasibo" (thank you) as the flag-draped casket of Alexander Zakharchenko, the chief of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, was driven through the streets en route to a cemetery. Zakharchenko was killed in a bombing at a Donetsk cafe on Friday, becoming the four-year conflict’s most prominent victim from the Moscow-backed side. His bodyguard also died and 12 more people were injured. At least 100,000 mourners came to pay their respects to Zakharchenko, whose body had lain "in state" at a theatre for several hours, the authorities said.

Several members of Russia’s ultra-nationalist bikers’ club Night Wolves including their leader Alexander Zaldostanov were in att...

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