Ukraine Commemorates First Victims in Donetsk
Five years ago, on March 13, 22-year-old Dmytro Cherniavskyi died in Donetsk at a peaceful protest for a united Ukraine
The peaceful rally then turned violent after hired thugs attacked the activists. Many of the men who used force against local demonstrators were brought directly from Russia. Witness statements say Russian accents were heard throughout the clashes.
Groups of men threw firecrackers and smoke bombs into the pro-unity rally. Numerous police officers present did nothing to stop the violence.
Dmytro Cherniavskyi will be remembered as the first Ukrainian to lose his life fighting for Donbas. he was posthumously awarded Hero of Ukraine. He was killed along with three others during the clashes. Dozens were injured. Days after the rally, a number of the law-enforcement officers joined the Russian-led forces which began taking over government buildings in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Historians believe that March 13, 2014, was a watershed moment in the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.
Following the incident, Russia deployed 10,000 troops along its border with Ukraine. Moscow claimed it was part of military drills in the region but for many Ukrainians, this signaled the beginning of Moscow’s aggression in eastern Ukraine.