3 Children Killed, 1 Injured by Tripwire Mine Near Gorlovka Checkpoint in Donbass

September 30, 2018
Dmitry Tulup, age 10, injured in a mine explosion near Gorlovka, September 30, 2018. Photo by Telegram channel War Gonzo

Ukraine Day 1685: UPDATES BELOW. Three children were killed and one was wounded by a mine near a checkpoint in Gorlovka, controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

Previous coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.

An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


3 Children Killed, 1 Injured by Tripwire Mine Near Gorlovka Checkpoint in Donbass

Three children were killed and one injured outside of Gorlovka at Checkpoint 0, Ivan Prikhodko, mayor of Gorlovka (Horlivka), controlled by Russia-backed separatists, announced in a statement covered first by separatist and Russian media, then reported by Reuters.


Translation: The latest victims of the brilliant Minsk ceasefire. Video from the Telegram account of A. [sic] Prikhodko. 

The deaths were confirmed by Denis Pushilin, Russia-backed leader of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” who took the place of previous leader Aleksandr Zakhachenko, assassinated last month.

Translation: With profound pain I have learned the news of the monstrous tragedy — the death of three little residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

The boys reportedly activated a tripwire that set off a MON or anti-personnel fragmentation mine, said the major. 

The boys killed, all from the same grade school, were Kirill Korobov, who was in the 7th grade; Andrei Maksimenko, age 13, and Vitally Verbinov, also in the 7th grade. They were said to be walking from the town of Bessarabka toward Mayorsk. A fourth boy, age 10, survived the blast and was being treated for injuries in a local hospital.

Privately-owned pro-Kremlin REN-TV aired an interview with the surviving boy, identified by News Front as Dmitry Tulup, who said he and his friends had gone looking for “adventure” — but tragically found a tripwire [Translation by The Interpreter]:

Boy: We were walking and looking for adventures. My friends wanted to go to a certain place. They recalled that they wanted to break into a certain building that had been completely abandoned, and was boarded up — totally, from the bottom to the roof. So, we went there and tried to break in, but nothing worked.

We went further. We took a little bridge on the left. We came out on a different railroad track. We went straight ahead, then we came out, well, we went in a different direction, on the left, and we had been on the right. We walked and walked. We saw a path, that had been trodden by people, most likely by the DNR armed forces.

So, went went along that path — there were a lot of paths, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine ten paths, a lot of paths were there. So we didn’t want to choose, we went straight along that path, as we had walked on that path.

Narrator: And your friends were ahead of you?

Boy: Well, yes….ahead. Yesterday, today…yesterday…they said…Andrei had said, take an axe, a hammer and well, and some pliers, just in case. And they took all that. Andrei put it into a briefcase. But it [the break-in–The Interpreter] didn’t work, so we went further. So all four of us were walking in a line like this [gestures with his arm]. I was fourth. There were just four of us. So…

Narrator: So when the explosion occurred, where were you?

Boy: I was on the path in the center, next to a pit. I…Before the explosion…I was going…well, Andrei went first. It was an explosion on a stretched-wire mine, a trip-wire. Either it was a mine or two grenades. When they exploded, it wasn’t two — boom boom — but one powerful one. So that’s what happened. The shrapnel went straight through [shows hand] — here was the entry, here was the exit, on the side. So we came here and they stitched it and bandaged it up and now it’s all good.

In an interview with the pro-separatist news site News Front, the boy gave his name as Dmitry Tulup, age 10, and said they had seen a checkpoint down a path they had been walking on.

Dmitry said when the explosion went off, he “checked to see if I was still alive,” and saw that shrapnel had gone through his hand and he suffered a concussion. He said two of his friends were lying on the ground and third, was blown back from the blast; all evidently died soon afterwards.

Russian and separatist media blamed the Ukrainian armed forces for the presence of the mines, although as the boy indicated, he and his friends were walking on a path they believed had been made by the DNR.

Pavel Lisyansky, representative of the Verkhovna Rada [parliamentary] Ombudsman for Human Rights in Lugansk and Donetsk Regions, blamed the Russia-backed fighters for the deaths of the children in occupied territory, according to Gordon, citing his Facebook page:

Why did that happen? In my opinion, this occurred due to the non-fulfillment of agreements on de-mining by the DNR illegal armed formations.On March 2, 2016, the Trilateral Contact Group signed a document on anti-mine activity. According to the signed documents, de-mining was to be a priority on territory immediately adjacent to checkpoints on the line of contact used for the crossing of civilians, and also along roads leading to those checkpoints.

About 200,000 children living along the line of contact constantly risk trauma or death. In fact, mines and explosives are the chief reason of casualties among children in 2017.

Lisyansky cited a report by the UN from February 2018. 

On the front line,  in the previous 24 hours, four Russia-backed fighters were killed and 8 wounded, Gordon reported, citing the Facebook page post of the Joint Forces Operation (previously the ATO or Anti-Terrorist Operation).

Russia-backed forces fired 28 times; in 6 of these attacks, weapons banned by the Minsk agreement were used. Ukrainian forces opened fire twice. One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

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