Igor Strelkov, the pro-Russian rebel leader who reportedly may have taken credit on social media for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, is a mysterious figure who casts a frightening shadow as he plays a central role in the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine.
The New York Times described Strelkov as a "shadowy rebel" who wields an "iron fist" in its July 10 report about the rebel leader. He had reportedly ordered the execution of a 30-year-old man for stealing a pair of pants and two shirts from an empty house in a rebel-controlled town. In the execution order, according to the Times, Streklov wrote that crimes “committed in the zone of military activity will continue to be punished ruthlessly."
In press reports, which are limited, Strelkov has been described as a devout Russian nationalist with a "messianic" personality. He was born Igor Girkin in 1970 and was raised in Moscow, the Austrailan Broadcasting Company reported.
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