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Woman detained in Kyiv over desecration of renowned fallen soldiers' graves

by Martin Fornusek June 20, 2024 5:02 PM 3 min read
A 60-year-old woman was arrested in Kyiv on June 20, 2024, on suspicion that she had desecrated the graves of three well-known Ukrainian defenders, the Kyiv City Prosecutor's Office reported. (Kyiv City Prosecutor's Office/Telegram)
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A 60-year-old woman was arrested in Kyiv on June 20 on suspicion that she had desecrated the graves of three well-known Ukrainian defenders, the Kyiv City Prosecutor's Office reported.

The graves belonged to the legendary commander Dmytro "Da Vinci" Kotsiubailo, MiG-29 pilot Andrii "Juice" Pilshchykov, and activist-turned-soldier Pavlo Petrychenko.

The suspect desecrated their graves at Askold's Grave in central Kyiv on the early morning of June 20, the prosecutors said. Commemorative plaques, candleholders, flags, and photos were found damaged.

Later the same day, the authorities announced that the woman had been detained.

Criminal proceedings were launched under the article of desecration of graves of Ukrainian defenders. If convicted, the woman faces up to five years in prison.

Kotsiubailo, better known by his call sign, "Da Vinci," was an active participant in the EuroMaidan Revolution and took up arms shortly after Russia invaded Donbas in 2014.

Already in 2016, Kotsiubailo, aged 21, became the youngest commander in Ukrainian history by taking charge of the First Assault Company, which then operated under the name "Da Vinci Wolves." He was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine in 2021.

"Da Vinci" was killed by Russian soldiers in March 2023 near Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast.

Pilshchykov, also known as "Juice," was a renowned fighter pilot with a large social media following who advocated for Western countries sending F-16 jets to Ukraine.

The pilot died in August 2023 during a mid-air collision over Zhytomyr Oblast while flying an L-39 training jet.

Petrychenko was a well-known Kyiv activist involved in the fight against corruption. He was a member of the Serhiy Prytula Charity Foundation, helping to establish a volunteer center in the capital, and joined the Armed Forces two months after the start of the full-scale war.

The activist-turned-soldier was killed in combat in Donetsk Oblast in April 2024, just a day before his 32nd birthday, and shortly after initiating a petition against online gambling in the military.

Who was ‘Da Vinci,’ legendary young commander killed near Bakhmut?
It was another one of those losses. A young, bright Ukrainian who had a long life to live. Somebody who many perceived as “immortal” because the country’s future was hard to imagine without their dedication and patriotism. Somebody for whom thousands, both friends and strangers, would gather in cen…

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