Two boys allegedly beat a homeless man to death after he refused to beg for money to buy them sweets.
The suspects, aged 12 and 13, are believed to have battered Petr Balika over the course of several hours after leading him to an isolated spot in Izmail, Ukraine.
Chilling police footage appears to show one of the suspects confessing to the hideous crime.
“We forced him [Balika] to go with us to the reeds and punched him in the face,” the unidentified boy says.
“He fell onto the ground. We started kicking him to the stomach and all over the body.
“Then we found sticks and beat him up with them.”
The body of Mr Balika, 58, was discovered naked and mutilated by a dog walker in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Forensic specialists found he had died from multiple traumatic injuries to his head and abdomen after being beaten for a long time, and all of his ribs had been broken.
“His death was slow and painful,” the specialists told local media.
It remains unclear why Mr Balika’s clothes were removed.
In the police video the young suspect explains: “We approached him [Balika] and told him to ask some money from passers-by.
“We needed that money to buy some sweets. He refused [to fulfil the demand].”
The case is being treated as “deliberate grievous bodily harm that resulted in death”.
A police spokesman said: “According to evidence, found at the scene, the homeless man was killed by two suspects, aged 12 and 13.”
The age of criminal responsibility in Ukraine is 14. The two suspects were allowed to return home after giving their statements to police, the Daily Mail reports.
A court will now decide whether to place the boys in a detention centre for minors while the investigation is carried out.
Mr Balika, a former car mechanic, was well-known in Izmail as a harmless and sociable homeless person who lived in an abandoned theatre in the centre of the city.
An Instagram memorial page has been set up to pay tribute to the “city landmark”.