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Donetsk Holds Memorial Ceremony For Top Separatist Commander

A woman holds a portrait of Arseny Pavlov (aka Motorola) during his funeral ceremony in Donetsk on October 19.

Thousands of people have paid their last respects to a top separatist commander in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk.

At least 5,000 mourners queued on October 19 outside Donetsk's opera theater, where the body of Arseny Pavlov, a Russian citizen who was better known by the nickname Motorola, was displayed.

The ostentatious memorial ceremony was shown live on Russian state television.

Pavlov, 33, died on October 16 when a bomb exploded in his apartment block in Donetsk.

He headed a fighting force called the Sparta battalion.

A top Donetsk separatist leader blamed the Ukrainian authorities for the blast and said the killing amounted to a "declaration of war," sparking concerns of new violence by separatists whose war with Kyiv’s forces has killed more than 9,600 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax