Ukrainian major killed by grenade sent to him as a birthday present (Picture: East2West)
A Ukrainian major has died after being accidentally blown up by a hand grenade gifted to him on his birthday.
Hennady Chastyakov, an advisor to Ukraine’s military chief, returned home on Monday night with birthday gifts he had received from his colleagues.
Among them was a box of western-manufactured grenades which he was showing to his son, Ukraine’s interior minister Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram.
‘The son first took the munition in his hand and began to twist the ring. Then, the serviceman took the grenade from the child and pulled the ring, causing a tragic explosion,’ Mr Klymenko added.
It was initially thought the grenade had been tampered with as part of an assassination plot, although Kyibv later confirmed this was not the case and that Mr Chastyakov had been killed by accident.
Klymenko said the colleague who presented the gift had been identified and two more grenades of this type were found in his office as an investigation got under way. He said he had issued the explanation so as not to ‘spread unofficial information.’
Nevertheless, five more unexploded grenades found in Chastyakov’s apartment have been sent for examination, the official said.
Ukraine’s commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhnyi earlier expressed condolences to Chastyakov’s family, saying ‘an unknown explosive device went off in one of his presents’.
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The Ukrainska Pravda online news outlet said Chastyakov’s 13-year-old son suffered serious injuries. A security source told Ukrainska Pravda that Chastyakov, 39, was a graduate of a military academy and fully trained in handling grenades.
Zaluzhnyi has had a high profile in the more than 20-month-old Russian invasion. Last week, he wrote an essay in the Economist magazine saying the war had entered a new phase of attrition that was to Russia’s advantage and calling for more sophisticated technology for Ukraine’s military.
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Hennady Chastyakov was handed a grenade by his son which blew up in his face.