Blast kills police chief in southeastern Ukraine
Deputy commander of local traffic police, Alexander Kolesnikov, was killed in an explosion in the southern Ukrainian city of Berdyansk on Friday. The city was seized by Russian forces early in the ongoing conflict and has remained under their control ever since.
The blast occurred at a local holiday house, which is currently used to accommodate temporarily displaced people and refugees, primarily from Mariupol, local mayor, Alexander Saulenko, has said. The explosive device, filled with pre-made shrapnel, was affixed to a tree some three meters above ground, he added.
Kolesnikov’s service vehicle was in the blast zone, while shrapnel also pelted a playground nearby. “During the explosion, miraculously, there was no one on the playground where children could play and be, none of the children were injured,” Saulenko said, blaming the incident on Ukrainian authorities.
“There is a Ukrainian trace of the Kiev terrorist regime, which is trying to fight the peaceful population in such fashion, which indicates that they do not think about the victims among children and civilians,” the mayor said.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.