A 16-year-old Ukrainian teenager has been hailed as a hero after apparently managing to upload a defiant video to the internet minutes before he was mercilessly executed by Russian troops.
Both Tigran Ohannisyan and his friend Nikita Khanganov, also 16, were killed by Russian forces on Monday, Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, confirmed the following day.
The clip, shared by the Berdyansk city military administration via Telegram, shows Tigran clutching an assault rifle as he speaks hurriedly into his mobile phone while looking around anxiously.
After showing his apparently bloodied hand, he says: “That’s it. It is death, guys. Farewell! Glory to Ukraine!” The Telegram account comments: “We don’t want to believe it, but this is the last video with Tigran that appeared on social networks.
“The Russians accuse 16-year-old Tigran Ohannisyan of shooting in Berdyansk. The occupiers claim that he was liquidated, but it has not been possible to verify these claims at the moment.” ( See Video)
The account continues: “Tigran is one of two teenagers who were previously accused by the Russians of trying to sabotage the railway and taken into custody, where they were pressured and abused.
“Later, the children were transferred to the supervision of the occupation ‘police’, where they were to be celebrated. The European Parliament demanded their release. “We really hope that the information about Tigran’s murder will turn out to be false.”
However, on Tuesday Mr Lubinets confirmed the worst, saying: “In the temporarily occupied city of Berdyansk, two underage boys were murdered by the occupiers due to their pro-Ukrainian stance.
“Two 16-year-old boys became heroes. The last words of one of them were: ‘Glory to Ukraine.’ “There are not enough words to describe the feeling of pride for the young men who resisted the occupiers.” The bodies of neither of the boys had yet been handed over to relatives, Mr. Lubinets added.
Referring to Tatyana Moskalkova, Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights, he continued: “Through the communication channel that I have, I officially appealed to Moskalkova to do everything to return the bodies of the boys to their relatives.”
A lengthy article on the website of the Ukraine-based Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHR) said both boys, as well as their families, had been “persecuted by the Russian occupation authorities” since September 2022.
It added: “Tigran was kidnapped from his home, tortured, and abused for five days. “He was released only after publicity about the disappearance of the child, which the parents resorted to.
“The family also tried to take Tigran out of the occupation, but the occupiers arrested the boy and his parents and returned them to occupied Berdyansk.”
In recent weeks, the MIHR article explained the pressure had been stepped up, with both boys charged with preparing sabotage and planned to transfer the case to court.
It added: “Currently, the MIPL believes that the boys may have been killed on purpose. “The occupying authorities could have made efforts to save the lives of the teenagers, but this did not happen.
“For example, during the ‘investigative actions’ the Investigative Committee involved dozens of security forces in the case of Ohannisyan and Khanganov. Instead, according to our information, Tigran and Nikita were killed by sniper shots.”