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Russian politician Dmitry Rogozin, former director general of the Russian state space agency Roscosmos and an ardent supporter of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, was wounded on his birthday late on Wednesday in Russian-occupied Donetsk, an industrial city in the east of Ukraine.
Ukrainian media reported that a shell hit a hotel on the outskirts of Donetsk where Rogozin had been staying. As a result, Rogozin was seriously wounded, along with one of the top Russian collaborators in Donetsk, Vitaly Hotsenko.
On Thursday morning, Rogozin confirmed his injury on his Telegram channel. “I have been wounded. Metal (shell) fragment 3×4 mm in size entered above my right shoulder blade. An operation is coming,” he wrote. “Several other people close to me were also injured.”
Rogozin, famous for his frequent anti-Ukrainian rants, claimed someone had leaked information about his whereabouts in Donetsk.
At about 7 p.m. Wednesday, several high-precision strikes hit the hotel. Rogozin, who is supporting Russian forces in Donetsk and has posted pictures of himself wearing military gear, speculated about the prospect of a leak because this was the first time the had been hit by the Ukrainian army during the eight years since Russia’s first invasion in 2014.
“The attackers used a caliber of 120 or 155 mm. The investigation will determine where and who,” Rogozin said.
Ukrainian authorities have not officially confirmed the shell was Ukrainian. The country’s border guard, however, published an ironic statement, saying that Rogozin, a Russian citizen, has been “informed” that he was in Ukraine illegally.
“The other day, the State Border Service established that a citizen of the Russian Federation Rogozin illegally crossed the Ukrainian border and found himself located in the territory temporarily occupied by Russia in the Donetsk region,” the statement reads. “The border guards were not able to personally deliver the protocol to the violator, so it was ‘handed over’ to this person during his birthday celebration by caring comrades.”
Late on Wednesday, Russian media and Telegram channels reported that Rogozin was celebrating his birthday in a café. However, Rogozin, whose birthday indeed falls on Dec. 21, claimed he had held a closed working meeting.
Rogozin secured international fame when he engaged in a Twitter battle with SpaceX founder and current Twitter owner Elon Musk in May. It sparked off when Rogozin threatened Musk for enabling Ukraine to use the Starlink satellite constellation for internet coverage, and Rogozin claimed Musk would have to answer for his move as “a grown-up.”
Ukrainians know Rogozin for his repeated threats and calls for total extermination of Ukraine as an existential threat to Russia. He was also seen throwing a Nazi salute during nationalist marches in Russia.