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Three Russian soldiers accused of stabbing and blowing up body of woman from Luhansk Oblast to stand trial in Russia

Friday, 31 May 2024, 17:56
Three Russian soldiers accused of stabbing and blowing up body of woman from Luhansk Oblast to stand trial in Russia
Valentyna Davronova and Senior Lieutenant Aydin Zhamidulov, who is suspected of murdering her. Photo: BBC News Russian

A military court in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don will try three Russian soldiers accused of abducting and murdering a woman from Luhansk Oblast. She was stabbed, and then her body was blown up in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Source: BBC News Russian

Details: The murdered woman was 23-year-old Valentyna Davronova, from a village in the Novoaidar district (Luhansk Oblast). It was under Ukrainian control before the full-scale Russian invasion.


The investigation suggests that Senior Lieutenant Aydin Zhamidulov and his subordinates first stabbed the girl with a knife on his orders, after which they blew up her body in an attempt to hide the crime.

The media outlet successfully reached out to Tetiana Davronova, the mother of the deceased, and interviewed her about her daughter and the details surrounding the case.

The cases of three soldiers have been brought to court. Another one died in the summer of 2023 under unclear circumstances.


Valentyna joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 2018, immediately after coming of age. That same year, she got pregnant, went on maternity leave and gave birth to a daughter. She resigned from the Armed Forces in 2021.

The region was seized by Russian forces at the very beginning of March 2022. Once the Russians occupied the area, Davronova "went through the FSB interrogations and all the detectors", her mother said.

The Russians detained Valentyna for the first time on 11 March 2022. She was released shortly afterwards but was detained and checked more than once.

Valentyna was celebrating the Old New Year (an informal Orthodox holiday celebrating the New Year by the Julian calendar) with a friend in the settlement of Shchastia on the evening of 13 January 2023 when she received a call from a Russian serviceman she knew who insisted that she come to Luhansk to the Raduha cafe.

Afterwards, the woman stopped getting in touch, and three days later, her mother turned to the local police. The woman said they assumed that her daughter was "out drinking somewhere". They formally accepted her statement of disappearance but later "waved away" all her questions.

Subsequently, Valentyna's mother turned to the so-called Investigative Committee Department in Luhansk, where a case was initiated.

Soon, the investigation detained the following Russian servicemen: Senior Lieutenant Aydin Zhamidulov, a platoon commander of the airborne troops, Alexei Dorozhkin, a private who served as a senior airborne troop scout (he was drafted less than two weeks before the woman's murder), and Sergeant Roman Pleshcheev, a combat vehicle commander of a reconnaissance platoon.

The fourth Russian, with the nom de guerre Bugor, was also purportedly arrested but later discovered dead under unclear circumstances. This probably was Nikolai Gorshkov, an air assault platoon gunner who died on 1 June 2023.

The arrested soldiers explained the whereabouts of the woman’s body.

According to Russian media, Valentyna was taken from the Raduha cafe on the evening of 13 January 2023 and placed in the back of a KamAZ lorry. "The officer bound her hands with tape. The senior lieutenant instructed Alexei Dorozhkin, who accompanied them, to cover Valentyna's eyes, which he did."

At the same time, Zhamidulov informed his subordinates that Valentyna served in the Ukrainian army and reportedly gathered intelligence in the interests of the Armed Forces.

Valentyna was taken to a soldier's sauna, where "Zhamidulov stabbed her around two dozen times in various places of her body. Sergeant Roman Pleshcheev, commander of the reconnaissance platoon combat vehicle, entered the sauna around this time. Zhamidulov told him to finish off the victim. Roman Pleshcheev struck Valentyna Davronova with his knife in the left shoulder and right leg, not wanting her to die but dreading the senior lieutenant's wrath. At 0:20, Alexey Dorozhkin entered the sauna, and Aydin Zhamidulov told him to finish what he had started. Roman Pleshcheev left the room, and Alexei Dorozhkin fatally stabbed the victim in the heart."

Making sure that the woman was dead, "Zhamidulov instructed his subordinates to transport the body outside the temporary deployment area and blow it up with three F-1 grenades so that the deceased and the cause of her death could not be identified."

The first court hearing in the lawsuit is set for 5 June 2024. The case of Roman Pleshcheev will be handled independently.

According to media sources, Zhamidulov is 28 years old, from Kazakhstan, lives in Pskov Oblast, and formerly worked as a welder. In January 2022, he signed a contract with the Russian Federation's Ministry of Defence and assumed command of a parachute platoon of the 76th Airborne Division's airborne assault regiment as a senior lieutenant.

In November 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defence's official channel released a video in which Zhamidulov delivered his own poetry devoted to the members of the so-called "special military operation" (as the Russians call the war in Ukraine). "Difficult times create heroes, and heroes create new poetry," he declared in the poem. The media said that he had two daughters. The post has yet to be removed from Russia's Ministry of Defence channel.

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