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Russian occupiers in Berdiansk plan secret burial of murdered Ukrainian teenagers 

Russian occupation authorities of Berdiansk, consistently denied families access to the bodies of the teenagers, who were killed in 2023 by Russian occupiers, and now plan to bury them without their relatives knowing where and when, according to the Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHR).
Tihran Ohannisian and Mykyta Khanhanov.
Tihran Ohannisian and Mykyta Khanhanov. Source: Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHR).
Russian occupiers in Berdiansk plan secret burial of murdered Ukrainian teenagers 

Russian occupation authorities of Berdiansk, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, are planning a secret burial of Ukrainian teenagers, allegedly murdered by Russian security forces in 2023, without informing their relatives about the time and place of burial, according to the Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHR).

A 16-year-old teenager of Armenian origin, Tihran Ohannisian, and his classmate Mykyta Khanhanov were killed on 24 June in 2023 by Russian occupiers who accused them of being “partisans.” The European Parliament passed a resolution in June 2023 condemning the actions of Russian structures that applied torture and violated criminal proceedings against the two Ukrainian teenagers.

Hryhorii Ohannisian, Tihran’s father, informed the MIHR about the authorities’ intention to bury the teenagers in an unmarked grave without notifying their families.

Russian investigators repeatedly told the relatives that they would allow them to take and bury the bodies of the teenagers, but under various pretexts, the occupation authorities refused to hand over the bodies each time.

Human rights defenders and the boys’ families suspect deliberate extrajudicial execution, as forensic examinations and criminal proceedings were prolonged without transparency.

Why were teenagers killed?

The Russian occupation authorities persecuted Ohannisian, Khanhanov, and their families since September 2022, when Tihran was abducted from his home, tortured, and abused for five days.

The family tried to take Tihran out of the occupation, but the occupiers arrested the boy and his parents and returned them to occupied Berdiansk. Tihran’s grandmother shared that occupiers tortured him with electric shocks demanding false confession that he prepared sabotage on the Melitopol railway.

In the last few weeks before the extrajudicial execution, investigators charged the teenagers with preparing sabotage and planned to bring the case to court, threatening them with 20 years of imprisonment. On the day they were murdered, an investigator came to Mykyta’s house, and they had a long conversation. Later that evening, the boys went for a walk and were killed, according to the occupation authorities of Berdiansk, because of an attack on the “police.”

The last video recorded by Tihran was published online. In the video, the boy, wearing tactical gloves and holding a gun, nervously says (in Russian):

“…Two for sure. That’s it, it’s death, guys. Goodbye. Glory to Ukraine.”

The MIHR places the responsibility for these murders on the occupation authorities of Berdiansk, the Russian Guard unit that was in Berdiansk at the time, the leadership of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, and the highest military and political leadership of Russia.

 

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