KYIV, Ukraine — An aide to top military chief – Maj. Gennadiy Chastyakov was killed after being gifted with a live grenade on his birthday, which was detonated by his 13-year old son, Ukrainian prosecutors said.
“Major Gennadiy Chastyakov, who served as the assistant to Valery Zaluzhny, had received a gift box from a colleague for his birthday on Monday that contained several “Western model” grenades,” wrote Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko on Telegram.
According to the special defense prosecutor’s office of Ukraine’s central region, the aide, Maj. Gennadiy Chastyakov, had gone back to his home on the outskirts of Kyiv on Monday with birthday presents from colleagues that entailed a box having six grenades. The prosecutor’s office further noted that one of the grenades had been taken by the major’s son.
“While taking the grenade from the boy, “the officer pulled the ring, which caused the explosion,” said the office in a statement.
“Major Chastyakov, an aide to Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, commander in chief of the Ukrainian military, had been killed on the spot by the explosion. The blast also seriously wounded the son, 13, and slightly injured the major’s 11-year-old daughter,” they added.
“There was no explanation of why someone would give the major grenades as a present or why he would have pulled the ring,” said the prosecutor’s office.
“Based on the information gathered so far, we can assert that it was indeed an unfortunate accident, a result of careless handling of the ammunition,” said Maryana Reva, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s interior minister on Tuesday.
On Telegram Zaluzhny wrote that his “assistant and close friend” died “under tragic circumstances.”
“Police found five more unexploded grenades in the apartment,” said Klymenko.
So far the police have located the “fellow serviceman” who gifted Chastyakov, and further discovered two similar grenades while conducting a search to his office.
According to the police, criminal proceedings had been started while investigation is underway. However, according to preliminary findings, the Ukrainian interior ministry said that it considers the killing as an “accident”.
“According to the information we have now, we can say that it was an accident, negligent ammunition handling,” said Mariana Reva, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior.
“It is possible that the case will be reclassified based on the evidence collected,” added Reva.
“The gift was in the form of a box, with a bottle of alcohol and six grenades inside,” said Reva.
“From the beginning of the full-scale invasion, (Gennadiy) was a reliable shoulder for me, completely devoting his life to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the fight against Russian aggression,” wrote the military chief on Telegram.
This incident comes barely days after the military chief Zaluzhny had a varied opinion with the president Volodymyr Zelensky on the state of Russia-Ukraine conflict. Zaluzhny had said the that the war had hit a stalemate, claims, which the president refuted.
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