Deputy rebel military commander Eduard Basurin said the explosion in the region's capital of Donetsk was caused by a bomb planted in the restaurant, which was named "Separ" in honor of the separatists and decorated with camouflage netting hanging from the eaves. Encouraged by Russia's annexation of Crimea, which occurred following Yanukovych's ouster, rebel leaders initially hoped their regions would be absorbed by Russian Federation.
Ukraine's National Security Service says the assassination was likely either a special operation by Russian forces or infighting by mobsters among the separatists.
Russian foreign minister said on Saturday talks on Ukraine with leaders from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, known as the Normandy format, were impossible after the killing of a rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, Interfax agency reported.
A state of emergency has been imposed, Kazakov said, adding that borders with both Ukraine and Russian Federation were sealed as the security services are "actively searching for the potential perpetrators".
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The leader of the independence-seeking insurgents in Donetsk, part of Ukraine's Donbas region, was reportedly killed in an explosion earlier on Friday, which was later confirmed by the Security Service of Ukraine.
Mr Zakharchenko, 42, had been leader since 2014, the year that parts of eastern Ukraine dominated by Russian Federation seceded, leading to a bloody struggle with government troops that continues sporadically today. "Having failed to fulfil the promise of peace, curiously they determined to flip to a bloodbath".
Russian Federation denies providing troops or equipment to the separatists despite widespread allegations it has done so.
In February 2017 rebel commander Givi (real name Mikhail Tolstykh) was killed by a rocket that was sacked into his office. The Eastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk engaged in open conflict with Kiev since they refused to accept the new government, following the 2014 coup, and established the self-proclaimed republics.
Ukraine has designated it as a terrorist group and is at war with the DPR and Luhansk People's Republic.