Ukrainian children's writer Volodymyr Vakulenko was killed by Russian soldiers during the occupation of Izyum, Suspilne reports citing photographic evidence and DNA test results.
Vakulenko disappeared in the village of Kapitolivka near Izyum in March. His parents said five men came to his house on March 24 and kidnapped him right in his home clothes. “Volodya was first forced to undress and checked for tattoos. He had a tattoo,” said the writer's mother Elena Ignatenko. She found out where her son was hidden and asked the kidnappers to let him go. They promised to bring him home, but it never happened.
When the Ukrainian Armed Forces liberated Izyum, they found a journal with data on the dead that had been kept by the local ritual service. According to Suspilne, Vakulenko was listed under number 319, but the law enforcement authorities denied that the writer was buried in the grave under that number. Despite this, Suspilne journalists found a photo of the body taken before the burial. It showed a tattoo similar to that of Vakulenko’s. This was the reason for the DNA test.
The writer had an underage son who had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Suspilne writes that Vakulenko had been bringing up his son mostly alone. Now the writer's mother takes care of the child.
Vakulenko participated in the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. During the Euromaidan, he was wounded by provocateurs in Mariinskyi Park in Kyiv. Since 2015, he had been involved in volunteering and spent some time in the ATO area.