Russian Journalist Killed By ‘Butterfly’ Mine In Donbas
A female Russian journalist has reportedly been killed by a so-called ‘petal’ or ‘butterfly’ mine in the breakaway Donbas region of Ukraine.
Zemfira Suleymanova, born in 1997, reportedly died in the pro-Russian, so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on Monday, August 15.
This has been confirmed by both Ukrainian and Russian sources.
Anton Herashchenko, 43, an official adviser and a former deputy minister at the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, labeled Suleymanova a “Russian propagandist” and added that she “was blown up by a mine ‘Petal’ mine in the Kirovsky district of Donetsk and died in a hospital.
“After the incident, Suleymanova was called an employee of Russian media outlet RT, but this information was denied on the channel.
So-called ‘petal’ or ‘butterfly’ mines are massively used by the occupiers. Designated by Russia as the PFM-1, it is a scatterable high explosive anti-personnel land mine that is deployable from the air or mortars.
Fluttering to the ground without detonating, they explode later upon contact. Made of plastic, the fins on the mines can be of any color and are easily camouflaged in foliage, snow, and sand.
“If you shoot staged stories about the war all your career, then it is easy to confuse the usual dummy with a working mine,” Ukraina spokesman Herashchenko said.
Russian state news agency TASS also reported the journalist’s death, quoting Donetsk Mayor Alexei Kulemzin, 48, as saying: “According to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination, on August 15, in the Kirovsky district, a woman born in 1997, a reporter for a Russian TV channel, was wounded as a result of the explosion of a Lepestok PFM mine. The victim died in the hospital from her injuries.”
She was reportedly in a car at the time of the explosion, which also killed her unnamed driver, according to both Ukrainian and Russian media.
Ukrainian media also reported on the death of the Russian journalist, with both Russian media and Ukrainian media referring to Suleymanova as a “war correspondent” — Ukrainian media used the quotation marks, the Russian media did not.
Both Ukraine and Russia have accused one another of using ‘petal’ mines in the Donbas. Russia claims that Ukraine is targeting civilian areas with them, while Ukraine claims Russian and pro-Russian forces are using them to make it look like Ukraine is targeting civilian populations.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation”. Wednesday marks the 175th day of the war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and August 17, Russia had lost about 44,100 personnel, 1,886 tanks, 4,162 armored combat vehicles, 993 artillery units, 263 multiple launch rocket systems, 136 air defense systems, 233 warplanes, 196 helicopters, 792 drones, 190 cruise missiles, 15 warships, 3,054 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 93 units of special equipment.
Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower, but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures. The Pentagon said last week that Russia had suffered between 70,000 and 80,000 casualties – deaths and injuries – since the beginning of its invasion.
The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, are set to meet in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Thursday to review the current grain export deal.
The first ship to leave Ukraine under the grain export deal docked in Syria on Tuesday, August 16.
UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that Zelensky, Erdogan and Guterres will also talk about “the need for a political solution to this conflict” and the ongoing situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant — Europe’s largest — which is currently under Russian control.
Denis Pushilin, head of the pro-Russian, so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), has said in a letter to Kim Jong-un that North Korea and the DPR will develop “equally beneficial bilateral cooperation”, according to North Korean state media.
The authorities in Estonia are removing Soviet-era statues and monuments, with the government pledging to take down between 200 and 400 of them by the end of the year. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said: “No one wants to see our militant and hostile neighbor foment tensions in our home.”
Estonia is also closing its border to over 50,000 Russians this week who had previously been issued visas and Finland has said that it will cut the number of visas issued to Russians to 10 percent of the current amount from September 1.