Dnipro in central Ukraine, the country’s fourth-largest city, has played host to a horrific incident. A schoolboy, aged only 8 years old, sustained burns on 35 percent of his body after bullies doused him with gasoline and set him on fire.
The shocking incident happened just meters from his own front door. The boy, Kyrylo Yatsun, was immediately hospitalized and his condition remains critical.
'They are not children, they are monsters'
As of Sept. 3, 2019, Kyrylo’s mother, Eugenia Yatsun, still sits by her son’s side at his ICU hospital bed. Speaking to her local news station, Eugenia regaled: “I was cooking lunch at home when some children rushed in and said that Kyrylo was injured.”
“I ran outside,” the stricken mom continued, as per the Daily Mail, “and saw my son lying on the ground. The skin on his belly and legs was badly burned. He told me that they did it to him on purpose, without any reason,” she explained.
“They are not children, they are monsters,” she further added.
Kyrylo was playing in the courtyard near his apartment block. The bullies who approached the boy were several years older than him; a gang of older boys has since been apprehended and is being questioned by police detectives.
Eyewitnesses to the horror claimed that the gang of bullies soaked Kyrylo’s T-shirt in gasoline and then set fire to him with their lighters. The boy’s clothes caught fire like a “human torch,” and he fell screaming to the ground. Allegedly, Kyrylo’s attackers ran away laughing at the devastation they’d left behind.
Onlookers rushed in to help the boy in the wake of the unprovoked attack. They removed his fire-ravaged T-shirt and put out the fire, called an ambulance, and called his mother. Once at the hospital, Kyrylo underwent several emergency surgeries in an attempt to save his skin.
“The suspects say that they did not intend to set the victim on fire, and that it was an accident,” police spokeswoman Anna Starchevskaya shared with the media. “The investigation is ongoing.”
If it is determined that the act of setting the 8-year-old boy on fire was intentional, the suspects will likely be placed in a correctional facility for minors. They face criminal charges for causing grievous bodily harm.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) September 4, 2019
Kyrylo had sustained serious damage to the skin on his head, arms, torso, and hips. But even after doctors removed the damaged skin, Kyrylo was still fighting for his life.
“The boy was hospitalised in a grave condition,” Dnipro Regional Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Artem Posunko told local media, “with severe burns to 35 percent of his body.”
“We [will] do everything possible to keep him alive,” the doctor continued. “He is conscious and can speak, but his injuries are very serious and his condition is still life-threatening.”
The stoic child has his mother’s unwavering support. The emotional scars could last a lifetime, but further skin graft surgeries and tailored rehabilitation will hopefully help Kyrylo to regain his former quality of life.