Mikhail Tolstykh, a.k.a Givi, one of the leaders of pro-Russian militants, was killed due to an attack from man-portable flamethrower ‘Shmel’ (Russian for ‘Bumblebee’, - 112 International). The so-called called ‘operative command’ of pro-Kremlin militants in Donetsk region reported that on Wednesday, several hours after the assassination.
‘Shmel’, the Russian-made weapon, is a man-portable rocket missile launcher, although it is officially defined as a flamethrower. The weapon is a single-shot, self-contained tube shaped launcher that operates much like some RPG and LAW rocket launchers. Each such weapon contains a single rocket, of which there are three varieties. The basic rocket employs a thermobaric warhead and is designed for attacking soft targets under moderate cover. It is effective against manpower, light armored vehicles and cars. A single shot is capable of exterminating any life form within the range of 80 cubic meters.
Earlier today, Russia-backed militants reported that Givi, their commander was killed in his office on Donetsk at about 6 a.m. on February 8.
Givi used to lead the Somalia unit, one of the many illegal armed formations fighting against Ukrainian troops in Donbas. The native of Ilovaisk, Donetsk region, he served as tank commander in Ukraine’s Armed Forces in 1998-2000. When pro-Russian militants occupied some of the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Givi joined them. Having participated in some of the most gruesome battles of this conflict, such as the battle for Donetsk airport, Tolstykh was widely known for torturing and killing prisoners of war. Ukraine’s law enforcers put him on the wanted list for various crimes, such as terrorism, abduction and tortures.