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5 Feb, 2024 16:38

Ukrainian official tries to justify the killing of 28 civilians in Russian bakery

Petr Andryuschenko insisted the missile attack was legitimate because it claimed the life of Lugansk’s emergencies minister
Ukrainian official tries to justify the killing of 28 civilians in Russian bakery

The emergencies minister of Russia’s Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), Aleksey Poteleschenko, was confirmed on Monday as being among the victims of the recent Ukrainian strike on a bakery in the city of Lisichansk. The attack claimed the lives of 28 civilians.

Moscow has denounced Kiev for the “terrorist attack.” However, former aide to the mayor of Mariupol Petr Andryuschenko (who fled the city in early 2022 following the outbreak of conflict) has suggested that the death of the regional minister in the attack legitimized the murder of 27 others.

Mariupol, located in Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), was liberated by Russian forces early in the conflict.

“At the end of the week, late in the evening, heavenly punishment visited Lisichansk in a restaurant near a bakery, where the top collaborators had already celebrated two birthdays,” Andryuschenko wrote on Telegram, claiming that only the restaurant was destroyed, while the bakery itself remained “intact.”

It was not immediately clear where he’d come by his information, given that the bakery and the restaurant were effectively a single establishment, located in the same building. Its structure ended up heavily damaged in the Ukrainian strike, partially collapsing and burying dozens of civilians under the rubble.

Additionally, the strike did not exactly happen “late in the evening” as Andryuschenko claimed, but occurred shortly after 5pm local time.

The official also urged the Ukrainian side to brag about such attacks in the future, arguing that Kiev should have released the news of the strike first, while describing the bakery as an “assembly point” of “collaborators.” Early information releases, according to the former aide, deprive Russia of the “information field advantage.”

The death of Poteleschenko was confirmed by acting head of the LPR Leonid Pasechnik. 

“He was a courageous man with an iron character and great fortitude. He defended the Lugansk People’s Republic within the ranks of the People’s Militia, then worked in the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the LPR. For a year, he headed the Lisichansk fire and rescue squad,” Pasechnik wrote, eulogizing the fallen official on Telegram.

Russian troops secured the city of Lisichansk in early July 2022, making it one of the last municipalities in the LPR to be liberated. However, the city, which remains close to the front line, has been a frequent target of Ukrainian artillery and missile attacks ever since. Saturday’s strike, however, was reportedly the deadliest to date in the community in terms of civilian casualties, with a child among the 28 confirmed dead.