Head of Russian-controlled Ukrainian city injured in blast, says official

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LONDON (Reuters) -The Russian-installed commandant of a southern Ukrainian city was badly injured in a blast on Tuesday, a local official said, the latest in a series of apparent assassination attempts in occupied areas of southern Ukraine.

Vladimir Rogov, an official in the Russian-backed administration of the Zaporizhzhia region, initially told Reuters and two Russian agencies that Berdiansk head Artyom Bardin had died, and blamed the Ukrainian government.

Rogov later posted a message online saying Bardin was fighting for his life after suffering major blood loss and losing a leg.

Reuters was unable to independently verify Bardin's condition.

Russian media earlier said Bardin was hospitalised and in a critical condition after his car exploded outside the city administration building in Berdiansk in Zaporizhzhia region, an Azov Sea port of around 100,000 people that was captured by Russian troops in February.

The city's deputy chief of traffic police died on Aug. 26 after being wounded in a bomb blast, local officials said.

On Aug. 30, Alexei Kovalev, a former lawmaker with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's party turned Russian-backed official in Kherson region, was shot dead.

(Reporting by Reuters, editing by David Ljunggren, Tomasz Janowski and Rosalba O'Brien)