Zelenskyy Aide Resigns Amid Dnipro Comments Backlash

One of Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy's top advisors, Oleksiy Arestovych, resigned on Tuesday after sparking criticism over comments he made following the blast at a Dnipro residential block on Saturday that killed dozens of civilians and injured scores more.

Zelenskyy Aide Resigns Amid Dnipro Comments Backlash
Image credit: UNIAN [via OpenDemocracy]

Facts

  • One of Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy's top advisors, Oleksiy Arestovych, resigned on Tuesday after sparking criticism over comments he made following the blast at a Dnipro residential block on Saturday that killed dozens of civilians and injured scores more.
  • Arestovych had told a journalist that it looked as though a Russian missile had fallen onto the apartment building after being shot down by Ukrainian air defenses. He apologized and removed the post but later emphasized that his conclusion was only a preliminary theory.
  • On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed to Arestovych's remarks in a statement which said Russia does not target civilians, alleging that Ukrainian air defenses were responsible for the damage.
  • Peskov said, "The Russian armed forces have not been delivering strikes on residential buildings or social infrastructure facilities," adding that "You could see statements by some officials about that tragedy having been caused by an air defense counterattack."
  • A day later, Arestovych posted a picture of his resignation letter on Facebook and said: "I wrote a resignation letter. I want to set an example of civilized behavior: a fundamental mistake means resignation."
  • Emergency services in Dnipro completed their searches of the rubble on Tuesday and confirmed that 44 civilians were killed, while 79 more were injured. However, 20 more remain missing.

Sources: i24, Yahoo, Tass, and Pravda.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Front News. Arestovych made an incorrect statement that was immediately rejected by the Ukrainian Air Force, which said it didn't have the means to shoot down Russian Kh-22 missiles. After disseminating misinformation without understanding the facts related to both the bombing and Ukrainian weaponry, he did the correct thing and resigned.
  • Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by RT. Given that Arestovych is a self-proclaimed propagandist for Ukraine, the accusations against him make little sense. Russia's attack on Dnipro did not target civilians, but rather legitimate military targets and, as stated by Arestovych, the residential block was damaged by Ukrainian air defenses.

Predictions