Lenin statue survives bomb plot in rebel Ukraine

Sweepers clean a street near a monument of the Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin on Jan 27, 2016.
Sweepers clean a street near a monument of the Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin on Jan 27, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

DONETSK (AFP) - A Lenin statue escaped largely unharmed onWednesday (Jan 27) after unidentified plotters tried to blow up the massive monument of the Soviet Union's founder in the de facto capital of rebel Ukraine.

Pro-Russian insurgency leaders quickly accused a "terrorist group" of trying to topple the statue, which is situated at the main square of the eastern industrial city of Donetsk.

A small part of the monument's foundation was damaged in the explosion though the bronze statute itself was left unscathed.

"According to our information, the explosives were planted by a terrorist group that had already committed similar crimes in Donetsk," rebel military spokesman Eduard Basurin told AFP.

No one claimed immediate responsibility and no arrests were made.

Well-armed, pro-Moscow forces have been waging a 21-month war against pro-Western government troops that has claimed more than 9,000 lives.

Ukraine has banned all Soviet symbols as well as the Communist Party in a bid to reaffirm its committment to joining the European Union and possibly even the Nato military bloc.