Russia’s Investigative Committee has said it will look into reports that Ukraine violated the ceasefire in the non-recognized Donetsk People’s Republic, after claims that a five-year-old boy was killed by shelling last Friday.
The agency’s spokeswoman, Svetlana Petrenko, explained that it would be investigating a possible infraction of the Russian Criminal Code that seeks to punish those who break international treaties signed by Moscow. According to Petrenko, the Ukrainian army had breached the ceasefire to fire at civilian infrastructure.
“A five-year-old child was killed, and his 66-year-old grandmother was wounded as a result of a munitions explosion in the yard of a house on Dorozhnaya Street,” Petrenko said.
Other media reports have claimed the boy was, in fact, four years old.
The child, named by media as Vladislav Shikhov, lived in the village of Aleksandrovskoe in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Established in 2014, the DPR is not recognized by any UN nation, including Russia, which considers it to be a part of Ukraine. However, as Moscow signed and helped forge the peace deal seven years ago, it is officially a party to the treaty.
“The Investigative Committee of Russia continues to identify officials involved in the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare against the civilian population of Donbass,” Petrenko said.
The Donbass, made up of the Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts, is located in the east of Ukraine, next to the border with Russia. It has been the location of a civil war since 2014, with separatists now controlling large swathes of territory. Despite Moscow not recognizing the legitimacy of the breakaway People’s Republics, Kiev accuses the Kremlin of supporting them.
According to Denis Kazansky, a Ukrainian journalist who is a part of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) established to attempt to end the Donbass conflict, the bombing of a five-year-old boy is entirely fictitious. Kazansky claims that the story was made up by the DPR leadership as an excuse to escalate violence, and blamed “propagandists” from Russia for spreading the news.
Kazansky says the incident was actually caused by unexploded ammunition, likely stored nearby or left outside.
In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin cannot verify the veracity of the reports but has “no reason to question” them.
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