An assistant and friend of Ukraine's top general was killed in an explosive incident.
Valerii Zaluzhnyi said an explosive device in a birthday gift killed Maj. Hennadii Chastiakov.
The commander-in-chief said Chastiakov's death caused "unspeakable pain" and is a "heavy loss."
The top Ukrainian general said on Monday that one of his aides was killed by an explosive device inside a birthday gift.
In a Telegram message, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces, said his assistant and close friend Maj. Hennadii Chastiakov was celebrating his birthday when an "unknown explosive device" detonated in one of his gifts. It was not immediately known where or when the incident took place, or who exactly was in attendance.
Zaluzhnyi said Chastiakov's death caused "unspeakable pain" and is a "heavy loss" not only for himself but for the military as well. He said Chastiakov had been a "reliable shoulder" for the top general since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and that his death will be investigated.
Chastiakov's wife said the item that exploded was a grenade inside a gift bag, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing an unnamed law enforcement source. The gift bag also contained a bottle of alcohol and shot glasses that looked like grenades, per the report. Chastiakov's 13-year-old son was reportedly also taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Initial reports on the circumstances of Chastiakov's death left much unclear, but Ihor Klymenko, Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, later clarified that Chastiakov had returned home from work with gifts from his colleagues, one of them being a box of new Western-made grenades, which he then showed to his son.
Klymenko said in a Telegram message that an exchange between Chastiakov and his son led to the accidental detonation of one of the grenades. Police later found five more unexploded grenades at his residence and identified a Ukrainian soldier who gave them to Chastiakov. The soldier's office has been searched, and more grenades were found there, Klymenko said.
Ukraine's national police force said in a statement that authorities were investigating the situation and how the grenades were handled.
Update: November 6, 2023 — This article has been updated to include a police statement on the incident, as well as comments from Ukraine's minister of internal affairs.
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