|Native name||Алекса́ндр Алекса́ндрович Прохоре́нко|
22 June 1990|
Gorodki, Tyulgansky District, Orenburg Oblast, RSFSR, USSR
17 March 2016 25) (aged|
Palmyra, Tadmor, Homs, Syria
|Years of service||2007–2016|
|Unit||Special Operations Forces|
|Battles/wars||Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War|
Alexander Alexandrovich Prokhorenko (Russian: Алекса́ндр Алекса́ндрович Прохоре́нко; 22 June 1990 – 17 March 2016) was a Senior Lieutenant with Spetsnaz (special forces) of the Russian Armed Forces. He was killed during the Palmyra offensive of the Syrian Civil War. Prokhorenko was identifying targets for Russian airstrikes and was surrounded by ISIS fighters near Palmyra when he ordered an airstrike on himself.
Prokhorenko was from the village of Gorodki in Orenburg Oblast, Russia. After graduating from an Engineering School of Anti-Aircraft Missile Defense, he attended the Smolensk Academy of Anti-Aircraft Defense and "graduated the academy with honors". Prokhorenko was married and expecting his first child when he was killed in action.
According to Lieutenant General Sergey Kuralenko, head of the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation, airstrikes were carried out according to the orders of Russian special forces in order to keep Palmyra's historical monuments and civilian areas from being inadvertently bombarded. Prokhorenko had been on a mission to direct some of these Russian airstrikes at ISIS targets, when he was discovered and surrounded by ISIS forces. He then ordered an airstrike on his own position.
Repatriation of his body
Prokhorenko's body was recovered and repatriated in coordination with Kurdish YPG forces. It arrived in Moscow on 29 April, according to the Russian Defence Ministry. His repatriation "was a matter of honour for the Russian Defence Ministry", according to a spokesperson.
The authorities of Orenburg decided to name one of the city's streets after Prokhorenko in his honour. A teacher at Prokhorenko's former school is reported as saying that she and others wanted now to rename the Gorodetskoy Middle School after Prokhorenko.
On 5 May 2016 a concert was performed by musicians from St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre orchestra in the Roman Theatre at Palmyra in Syria conducted by Valery Gergiev. The concert was dedicated to the memory of Aleksandr Prokhorenko. The theatre is a UNESCO-listed site. In November 2015, ISIS had used the theatre site as a setting for the execution of Syrian soldiers.
Two retired French citizens, Micheline Mague and Daniel Couture, paid tribute to Prokhorenko by donating World War II era military medals to his family. Micheline Mague and her husband Jean-Claude traveled to Russia and presented the medals to his parents, Alexander and Natalia Prokhorenko, and his brother, Ivan, in a meeting at the Russian Defense Ministry. Mague gave a Legion of Honour (Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur) and a Cross of War (Croix de Guerre) with a bronze palm. The awards belonged to close family members who fought in World War II. Daniel Couture sent the Legion of Honour which belonged to his father, a member of the French Resistance. Couture stated in a letter that he felt that Prokhorenko died defending not only Russia and France, but all other countries who are menaced by terrorism. He also wished to honor the Russian people "who had brought their decisive contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany." The "Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur" (Legion of Honour) is the highest French order for military and civil merits.
On October 5, 2016, during a ceremony at the Russian Cultural Centre of Rome, the ANDPI (Italian Association of Parachutists), Section of Rome inaugurated the 161st Parachuting Course, dedicated to the memory of Aleksandr Prochorenko.
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