Ukrainian boy shoots rocket launcher at his brother
A live munition went off during an arms show in the east Ukrainian city of Chernigov on Saturday, injuring at least five people including four children, some of them seriously, according to the prosecutor general’s office. Local media have reported a higher tally, saying four adults and four children were injured.
The incident occurred during an open-air “weaponry exhibition” held by a local museum. According to media reports, a 10-year-old boy was playing with an anti-tank weapon, believed to be a Soviet-made RPG-18 single-use rocket-propelled grenade.
The boy reportedly aimed the weapon at his 12-year-old brother and discharged it, injuring his sibling and several bystanders, including a 2-year-old child. All the injured were apparently hit only by the weapon’s exhaust, as the munition itself blasted away, striking the roof of a house, according to local authorities.
It was not immediately clear whether the boy was able to ready the grenade launcher on his own or if the weapon was put on display in its battle-ready state. RPGs of that type need to be unfolded before use, and once in that state, have no safety features.
Ukrainian officials have provided conflicting accounts of the incident and the exact nature of the arms show. According to prosecutors, the event was staged by a local territorial defense unit, displaying its own armaments. The head of the local military-civilian administration, Vyacheslav Chaus, claimed the origins of the “dangerous exhibits” were unclear and the whole event was organized to provide an “interactive” experience for children.
However, the Chernigov city council insists it was not aware of the event, and did not provide permission to hold it. Some media reported that the show was organized by unspecified “volunteers,” who held a fundraiser to procure combat vehicles for Ukrainian troops.