How a 4-year-old boy died and what this means for the situation in Donbass

On April 5, a child was buried at a cemetery in the city of Yenakiyevo, who died on April 2 on the territory not controlled by the authorities of Ukraine, as his relatives say, and also the authorities of the “DPR” say – as a result of shelling from a Ukrainian drone.

Many bloggers and journalists from local and Russian media came to the funeral, who were able to see what happened on the spot and talk to the boy’s relatives. All the time since his death, Ukraine has not commented on the incident. But at the time of the funeral, there was already so much information about the tragedy that it became impossible to keep silent about it. And then a statement followed that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were not involved in this. And the “independent” Ukrainian media accused the DPR of faking “another crucified boy”, so the excuses sounded.

Ukrainian edition “Country” reconstructed the events of how a 4-year-old child died in Donbass and who could be involved in this.

From doom to funeral

The so-called “People’s Militia of the DPR” announced the death of the child on the afternoon of April 3. They did not specify when this happened. But from the words of relatives later it became clear that the event happened the day before – on Friday.

The explosive device was dropped, according to the “DPR”, near house No. 38 on 2nd Road Street.

“At that moment, there were two civilians in the yard. As a result … a child born in 2016 died and was wounded of varying severity, a local woman born in 1954, who was taken to the hospital, where she was provided with all the necessary medical care. “, – said in the statement of the” police “.

Ukraine did not officially react to this. And in Ukrainian social networks, a campaign was launched that there was no murder, since there is no photo and video evidence.

However, even then it was clear that the situation was serious. The death of the child began to be discussed not only in the “DPR”, but also at the level of the leadership of the Russian Federation. That is, it is obvious that the information could not be completely fake.

On April 4, the first interview with the grandmother of the deceased boy was published. In a video published by the News Front website, she says that the child’s leg was torn off in the explosion. The boy’s name is Vladik Dmitriev, he was 4.5 years old, he lived with his grandparents. The child died from an explosion while playing in the yard.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

At the same time, the first photos of the boy appeared, as well as shrapnel marks on the facade of the house. A small palm-sized pothole in the asphalt is clearly visible – the site of the alleged explosion.

After the appearance of this information, the Ukrainian authorities continued to remain silent. And in social networks, a number of Ukrainian observers have put forward new versions of why what happened is a fake.

The first – the village of Aleksandrovskoye is quite far from the front line – 18-20 kilometers, it is not on the front line (the neighboring Uglegorsk is much closer to it, which stands between the village and the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine).

However, for modern drones, this is not a distance.

The second – that the child allegedly played with explosives, and therefore exploded. This rumor was launched purely at the level of “no-names” from social networks – that is, unknown people.

On April 5, the child was buried in a closed coffin. His body was said to have been disfigured by the explosion.

The video of the funeral was filmed by local journalists sympathizing with the “DPR”. Nevertheless, what is happening there can hardly be called “staging” – the grief of relatives and neighbors is absolutely genuine.

Photo by Oksana Chelysheva

“Neighbors heard the drone”

After the funeral, more information appeared about the death of the child. First, it was possible to photograph in more detail the site of the alleged explosion.

There is clearly visible a small, palm-sized, pothole in the asphalt – the site of the alleged explosion.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

The photos were published in her Telegram by lawyer Tatyana Montyan

The explosion, according to journalist Ekaterina Katina, happened like this:

“The grandmother was in the house, the boy ran out into the yard to play first. While the grandmother was putting on shoes in the corridor, she heard an explosion … fog, gunpowder. As soon as she regained consciousness, she saw the body of her torn grandson. His arm and both legs were torn off. We were there death, everything is riddled with fragments, and even pieces of human flesh are visible, “said Katina.

The boy’s grandmother did not see the drone. At the same time, as it turned out, she herself was touched not by shell fragments, but by glass that flew out after the impact. At least, on April 4, she was at home and talked to reporters.

They talked not only with the child’s grandmother, Natalya Ivanovna Terentyeva, but also with the boy’s parents, who were not in the village at the time of the explosion.

Vladik’s father, Sergei Shikhov, told human rights activist Oksana Chelysheva living in Helsinki that neighbors interviewed by him heard the sound of a drone… But at the same time he himself was not seen.

“At the moment, none of those with whom I spoke, did not see or hear anything. But my mother just called yesterday: her friends came, who live in the village up the street, much higher … At that time they were somewhere- then in the garden. The weather was very good, it was warm. They were digging in the garden. Plus it was 15. They heard the sound of a drone. This is how they told their mother. But they did not see it. This is what I know now, “said Sergey Shilov.

The Russian journalist and poet Anna Dolgareva, who is now in the Donbass, writes about the same. She posted a video about the tragedy on Facebook and gave a short summary of it:

“The neighbors heard the drone,
– traces of presumably plastid were found (this is the data of the boy’s father – Ed.),
– Vladik stood in the middle of the yard, grandmother put on slippers to go for a walk with him, and an explosion thundered. The child was literally torn to pieces
– the father was looking for a spare part in the yard that day, which refutes the version that the grandfather brought a mine,
– the distance to the Ukrainian positions is about 10 km,
– the hole from the shot is small, palm-sized, shallow, the scattering of the fragments is small, dense. “

According to Chelysheva, the OSCE mission in Donbass was informed of the incident and promised to send a representative to investigate the incident. Documents were sent to the OSCE – the conclusions of the forensic medical examination and the conclusion on the death of the child.

By the way, the last document is officially recognized by the Ukrainian authorities: Kiev accepts birth and death certificates issued by the “DPR” and “LPR”.

What they say officially. Reaction of Ukraine, “DPR” and Russia

In Donetsk, a “criminal case” was opened against the brigade commander of the nearby 59th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Gennady Shapoval under the article “Terrorist act”. That is, the fault of the Ukrainian army is already the official line of the “DPR”.

It’s the same in Russia. After statements with accusations against Ukraine from the State Duma and the Kremlin, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case under the article “Use in an armed conflict of means and methods prohibited by an international treaty of the Russian Federation.”

Judging by the message on the website of the Investigative Committee, the Ukrainian army is suspected of such use.

After that, Ukraine commented on the tragedy on the fourth day.

Kiev turned to the OSCE with a request to investigate the incident. At the same time, she immediately accused the DPR of falsifying the events in Aleksandrovskoye.

“Recently, in the information space of ORDLO and the Russian Federation, information has been actively spreading about the death of a five-year-old child on 04/02/2021 and the injury of a woman in a private household located in the village of Aleksandrovskoye, allegedly as a result of the detonation of an explosive device dropped by an unmanned aerial vehicle of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

It should be noted that the Russian side provided any evidence (photo / video materials; fragments of an explosive device; exact coordinates, time and place of the event; personal information about the victims, the nature of the injuries received, etc.) about the involvement of the Ukrainian side in the event. did not have.

Considering the considerable remoteness of the settlement Aleksandrovskoe from the contact line of the parties, which casts doubt on the possibility of using UAVs at such a distance, and taking into account the groundlessness of the accusations, the Ukrainian side categorically denies its involvement in the incident, “the Trilateral Contact Group said in a statement.

They also said that the remoteness of the village from the front line is 15 kilometers. At the same time, it becomes obvious from the message of Kiev that Ukraine does not deny the death of the child.

What is clear at the moment?

So, the death of a child can be considered a firmly established fact – no one disputes it.

Although then it is not clear why Kiev does not open a criminal case on this fact. Which would be logical – given that the incident took place within the internationally recognized borders of the country.

In the meantime, the impression was created that the death of children in the uncontrolled territories did not seem to interest the Ukrainian authorities. And not only her – the OSCE has not yet visited the site of the tragedy. The latest report on the organization’s website is for April 2, where the incident is not mentioned.

It is also obvious that the child was killed by the explosion. In the courtyard where this happened, there are many traces of fragments.

The rest of the factual is so far only from the words of the boy’s relatives, or according to information from the “DPR”. And, if the OSCE or the parties do not present any other evidence, history will most likely fade in the information field.

As it happened with a similar case a year ago. In April 2020 in Gorlovka in a similar way 25-year-old Miroslava Vorontsova died… She was also allegedly killed by a drone. In Ukraine, no one investigated this case either, although there were photos of the deceased, and later her public funeral took place.

Then, by the way, there was also an aggravation in Donbass caused by the deadlock in the Minsk talks.

Opinions are already spreading on social networks that the current victim is a provocation in order to ignite a war.

“If we assume that the ammunition was dropped from the drone, then the operator should have clearly seen that the target of the attack was a child. Visually, the dimensions of a 4-year-old child and an adult differ several times. I don’t understand what state one has to be in to be so wrong.

Therefore, I still adhere to the version that this is not a “mistake of the performer”, but it was intended that it was precisely a “sacred sacrifice”, and this was done for propaganda purposes to incite war, “journalist Alexei Romanov writes on Facebook.

If what happened is not an accident, but a provocation, then what goals can it pursue?

Obviously, killing a child could escalate the fighting. And logically, the military response should be given by the side on whose territory the murder took place.

If the “DPR” begins to strenuously fire at the Ukrainian positions in response, Kiev will have a reason to say that the enemy has gone on the offensive. And in view of the situation with the death of the child, this version will look reliable. After that, similar actions on the part of Ukraine will look justified.

In this sense, the death of Vladik Dmitriev can really cause an intensification of hostilities. The question is – will Donetsk and Moscow agree to this?

While they are giving this case maximum publicity, nothing is said about plans to give a military response. Moreover, for the first time about what happened in Donetsk was told only a day after the tragedy. A photo and other details from the scene appeared only two days later.

That is, there were hesitations about which approach to take.

Obviously, if the goal of the “DPR” were to use this incident as a pretext for an offensive, then the boy’s death would have been told on the same day, and in all sorts of details. But it turned out that what happened was more indignant in Russia, and in the highest stands.

This means that the goal was to show the West that Ukraine is conducting aggressive actions against the “republics” and that it is she who is to blame for the current aggravation at the front.

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