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About 55,000 people in Donbass come to bid final farewell to self-defense commander

About 55,000 residents of the self-proclaimed unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic came to bid final farewell to the commander of the Somalia battalion of the republican self-defense guard, Mikhail Tolstykh, who was more broadly known under the nick 'Givi'.

The ceremony began in the morning in a square near the Donetsk Opera House. Posters with Givi's photograph and a caption reading 'No Defeating Someone Who Does Not Surrender' were installed on the city streets. Donetsk republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko, parliament speaker Denis Pushilin, self-defense force fighters and regular civilians attended the ceremony.

"The Donetsk republic has suffered a heavy loss," the Donetsk News Agency quoted Zakharchenko. "That's an irreparable loss. May the Hero of Donbass, Mikhail Tolstykh, enjoy eternal glory."

"But your death wasn't futile and it proves our enemies are scared and are killing us by stabs in the back," he went on. "We vow to assure that you didn't die in vain. We'll do everything you dreamed about and everything you died for, and if we don't manage it then other fellow-fighters will do it but we'll reach our goals in one way or another."

Mikhail Tolstykh was buried at the same cemetery as another famous commander of the Donbass self-defense forces, Arsen Pavlov (nicked Motorola) who was killed in the night hours of October 16 inside his house in Donetsk. Their graves are located close to each other.

Givi, 36 at the time of his death, was killed on February 8 by a shot from a Shmel antipersonnel flamethrower. Donetsk republic authorities called a three-day morning in connection with his death.

Members of the republic's operational command say the assassination was obviously committed by the Ukrainian secret services. They also said Zoryan Skiryak, an advisor to Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, might be involved in it.

The Office of the Donetsk republic's Main Military Prosecutor ordered a criminal investigation of the assassination.

[Source: Itar Tass, Donetsk, 10Feb17]

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