Nikita Trachuk
24 January 2022 15: 30

Vostochny on fire: 7 years of shelling of Mariupol. How it happened and who is to blame

Why don't the locals believe in the official version of events and who is responsible for the deaths of dozens of people?

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Vostochny on fire: 7 years of shelling of Mariupol. How it happened and who is to blame

Early in the morning on January 24, 2015, an ordinary winter day began in Mariupol. Nothing foreshadowed trouble, although the situation was quite tense, because at that time the hostilities in the Donbass were in an active phase. The quiet Saturday morning was broken by a loud rumble and the explosion of shells that followed. The shelling of the Vostochny microdistrict lasted about 40 seconds, but many Mariupol residents recall that time seemed like an eternity to them. That morning did not survive 31 residents of the city, among the dead and wounded (117 people) were children. However, many in the city claim that the figures are greatly underestimated, and there were much more real deaths.

The official version of events is shelling from the unrecognized "republics" under the leadership of the Russian military: they aimed at Ukrainian checkpoints, but missed. However, after all these years, many residents of Mariupol “not in front of the camera” say that they do not share this point of view.

Klymenko Time recalls the seventh anniversary of the shelling of Mariupol.

How was it?

January 24, 2015 was a typical Mariupol morning. Cold weather, almost melted snow and a gloomy gray sky did not prevent people from going about their business in the morning. Someone went to work, someone went out for a walk with a dog or a stroller, someone took out the garbage, and someone was still sleeping at home in their beds. Suddenly, between about 9:15 and 9:20 am, in the Vostochny area, local residents heard a strong low rumble. And then shells began to burst around.

Vostochny on fire: 7 years of shelling of Mariupol. How it was and who is to blame - photo 1

Photo: media

Hits were recorded on Olimpiyskaya and Kievskaya streets, in the area of ​​the 5th and 69th schools, as well as near the Kyiv and Denis markets. Explosions took place right on the streets where cars drove, shells hit residential buildings and premises where people were. This caused fires.

According to counting, 374 objects were damaged, including 76 multi-storey and 209 private houses, three schools, four kindergartens and an outpatient clinic of the Central Primary Health Care Center No. 5. 76 commercial facilities and 2800 square meters of roads were destroyed. Official figures report 31 dead and 117 injured. Overall damage from shelling was 100 million hryvnia.

«They say that 29 people died then. Don't trust the authorities! Many of the wounded died in hospitals. According to unspoken, unofficial, so to speak, rumors, there were 300 coffins"- share individual local residents with journalists. This version (about the greatly underestimated number of deaths) is still very popular in the city. About 36 people live in the Vostochny microdistrict itself, which was shelled.

«The shop was on fire. Everything was knocked out at schoolёcla, an unexploded shell stuck out on the sports ground. People are running in panic. Screams, screams. Good thing it was Saturday. There were no children at the school who could find themselves in the epicenter of the explosions»,- recalls that morning a veteran of the Azov regiment Anton Trebukhov.

"AT 10-15 meters, shells begin to fall. We all to the ground! Everything flew: the roof, fragments. Metal gates saved us from them. Then someone ran up, shouting: "Are you alive?". Started crawl out slowly. Hell around. As if for an eternity seconds lasted» - says about her impressions the saleswoman of the "Kyiv" market Galina Bezus.

Note that this was not the only attack. The checkpoints of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were also partially affected - which, apparently, were the original target of the shooters. And they shot at Vostochny several more times during the day: at about 13:00 and at 17:00. Nevertheless, subsequent times the shooting was carried out at the very outskirts, as a result of which no one was injured.

Who did it?

January 2015 was a difficult time for Ukraine and especially for Donbass. After a short period when the war "slowed down" a little, by mid-January hostilities resumed with all the intensity. They ended with the famous "Debaltsevo cauldron", the military defeat of Ukraine and the signing of the second Minsk agreements on February 12, 2015.

Mariupol at that time was under the control of the Ukrainian side, there were troops in the city. The fighting took place in the immediate vicinity of the half-million metropolis. On the same day, the then “head of the DPR” Alexander Zakharchenko объявил about the "attack on Mariupol". True, there was no offensive in fact, and these words were quickly forgotten.

The investigation concluded that the shelling was carried out from the Grad multiple launch rocket systems. In the Ministry of Defense hareforksthat there were six Gradov. Four of them were subsequently destroyed by the Ukrainian military in return fire. According to the then mayor of Mariupol Yuri Hotlubey, eyewitnesses saw 6 Grad installations near the village of Shirokino. According to the Ministry of Defense, the shelling was carried out from the village of Sakhanka, which is near Shirokino. According to the Azov Regiment, the target of the shelling was the checkpoints of the Ukrainian forces.

Vostochny on fire: 7 years of shelling of Mariupol. How it was and who is to blame - photo 3

Photo: media infographic

The SBU said that what happened should be classified as a “terrorist act” (whereas in fact it would be more correct to consider the tragedy as a “war crime”). Kyiv version: the shooting was carried out from the side of the "DPR" with the participation of the Russian military. The very next day the Security Service задержала prospective corrector. He allegedly turned out to be a local resident, a former traffic police officer Valery Kirsanov.

Man рассказал, that, on the instructions of the Russian troops, he was engaged in aiming. According to him, they initially aimed precisely at checkpoints, but they miscalculated and hit a residential area. Kirsanov admitted to collaborating with a Russian officer with the call sign "Pepel", to whom he transmitted the coordinates via conventional SMS messages. When Pepel found out that dozens of civilians were killed as a result of their mistake, he did not get in touch again. Kirsanov fully admitted his guilt and received 9 years in prison. However, in 2019 he was released from prison according to the “Savchenko law” (the years spent in the pre-trial detention center were counted). After that, the man left Mariupol - they say that he went to Russia.

The OSCE agreed with the Ukrainian version of events only partially. They said that the shelling was indeed carried out from the territory of the self-proclaimed "republics". However, neither the OSCE nor Human Rights Watch has not accused someone right.

The "DPR" provided a diametrically opposite version. In "republic" announced the happened as a military provocation by Ukraine. Donetsk claimed that it did not have weapons in the area capable of such shelling. According to the "DPR", the fire was fired by Ukrainians from the village of Stary Krym. It was either a mistake (there is a version that the Ukrainian military decided that an offensive had begun on Mariupol and launched a preemptive strike), or a planned provocation in order to accuse the opposite side and call the opponents “terrorists”. Russia follows approximately the same version.

Local residents have different points of view. Of course, some Mariupol residents share the official position. Some of the townspeople are still at a loss with their version of what happened and do not know for sure who to blame for this. And a significant part is convinced that on that tragic morning on January 24, 2015, Ukrainian troops fired on Mariupol - with the aim of a military provocation. In any case, this opinion is widespread in the comments of local residents.

«Everyone here knows that it's him.and (APU - ed. note)", - says local resident to UP journalists.

“How not ashamed? False media of Mariupol! The whole of Mariupol knows who fired at Vostochny and from where. How, half an hour before the shelling, electricity, gas, water and mobile communications were turned off throughout Vostochny. And everyone remembers who gave the green light to this whole circus. Disgrace, the 8th year they hang noodles on people's ears. The sale of our local media probably does not exist. Change shoes in a jump. Fuuuuuu!" - resents in the comments under the news about the anniversary of the tragedy on the local site, the user Olga Lyubimova.

“If there is irrefutable evidence of this crime with f*cking rocks, why is there still no international court, like on the downed Boeing? Why did they turn on the back on this topic six years ago ... Why are they still procrastinating only rattles and call signs, but there are no specific names of these moral freaks? Isn't there a lot of why? - interested user Alex Gogol.

“And someone believes in this mess! It’s enough to look ... and it’s clear that they took some kind of bastard, like for theft, and said “choose” - expresses user's opinion about Kirsanov's version Alexander Lavrenchuk.

However, there are those in the comments who oppose such a view of those events. As we can see, the locals are not united in their views on the tragedy of the East even after so many years. Although the fact that for the most part many Mariupol residents do not believe in the official version of events is undeniable.

Today the city remembers the seventh anniversary of those events. Requiem rallies will be held, flowers will be laid and mourning speeches delivered. However, for 7 years, in addition to the only gunner, who, in addition, was released a long time ago and left the city, no one has ever answered for the crime. Even the names, surnames and ranks of the supposedly Russian military who fired at Mariupol were not named. It turns out that for a terrible crime, as a result of which dozens of people died, no one was punished.

“The war will write everything off” - except for grief and tears in the families of those whose loved ones will never return home after the morning of January 24, 2015.

Previously we talked about the plans of Mariupol to acquire an "iron dome".

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