Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Alexander Ivanovich Bastrykin held a briefing session in Rostov-on-Don. It was attended by First Deputy Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Eduard Valeryevich Kaburneev, Deputy Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation – Head of the Main Military Investigative Department Konstantin Evgenievich Korpusov, heads and investigators of a number of Central Office divisions, including the MID, as well as military investigative authorities of the IC of Russia, heads of the ID of the IC of Russia for Rostov Oblast Aslan Harunovich Khuade, the ID of the IC of Russia for Belgorod Oblast Stanislav Alexandrovich Zakharov, the ID of the IC of Russia for Voronezh Oblast Kirill Eduardovich Levit, the ID of the IC of Russia for Bryansk Oblast Maxim Pavlovich Lukichev, the ID of the IC of Russia for Kursk Oblast Andrey Borisovich Gusev, and the MID of the IC of Russia for Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol Vladimir Nikolaevich Terentiev.
The meeting discussed investigation of crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists against the civilian population of the DPR and LPR. A. I. Bastrykin stressed that the main cause of civilian casualties is still massive shelling by the Ukrainian armed formations using explosive weapons, small arms, and light weapons. To date, the investigators have established numerous instances of ill-treatment of civilians, use of means and methods prohibited by an international treaty of the Russian Federation in an armed conflict, including facts indicating the development of biological weapons, military and other crimes, including torture of military personnel and civilians, mercenary activities, kidnapping, illegal imprisonment, genocide, extremism, etc. In total, over the past period, 590 criminal cases were initiated in connection with the events in Ukraine. Over the entire period of the investigation, more than 169 thousand people were questioned, more than 42 thousand were recognized as victims, including 7,429 minors. The investigators also documented a number of instances of shelling of some border territories of the Russian Federation by Ukrainian troops.
Within the investigation, the Investigative Committee constantly analyzes a large array of documents and other data. The information contained there has made it possible to expand the scope of charges against individual defendants from among high-ranking Ukrainian servicemen involved in civilian deaths in Donbass. Thus, based on this evidence, 22 persons have been charged with genocide of the civilian Russian-speaking population. Among the defendants are former Defense Minister of Ukraine Valery Geletey, Chief of the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko, as well as other top officials.
It was noted at the meeting that, in pursuance of cooperation agreements between the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation and the Prosecutor General's Offices of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, military investigators of the IC of Russia were conducting investigative actions together with colleagues from the two republics. This interaction makes it possible to document traces of crimes committed by the Ukrainian nationalists against civilians as quickly as possible. The Chairman of the Investigative Committee instructed those present to make full use of the potential of these regulatory documents, as well as to ensure a high level of interdepartmental interaction and rapid exchange of information with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Rosgvardiya, and the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia. In addition, taking into account the volume of work, the head of the department ordered to expand the investigative group dealing with the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists in Donbass with experts and forensics. The Chairman of the IC of Russia pointed out the need to provide the group with the latest forensic equipment for effective implementation of the set goals.
The head of the department also instructed the Department of Legal Support and International Cooperation of the IC of Russia to organize interaction with representatives of relevant authorities of other states to work out legal issues related to the current situation.
During the meeting, reports were presented by the heads of the investigative departments for Rostov, Belgorod, Voronezh, Bryansk, and Kursk Oblasts, as well as of the MID of the IC of Russia for the Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. According to the announced data, over 12 thousand people were interrogated by the investigators in these regions, almost 9 thousand people were recognized as victims, about 2 thousand of them were children. A. I. Bastrykin noted that when conducting investigative actions with victims, it was necessary to take into account the fact that the victim status was applicable not only in case of injury and death of loved ones, but also in case of destruction of housing, forced relocation, and other difficulties of a domestic and moral nature. The heads of the territorial investigation departments were instructed to continue working with refugees: to recognize them as victims and question them within the appropriate status, to provide them with the necessary assistance, including of a legal nature.
During the meeting, A. I. Bastrykin recalled that in August 2008, South Ossetia was subjected to military aggression, but the entire Ossetian people received full support and protection from Russia. The staff of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation recorded and documented numerous Georgian party's violations of international treaties regarding the principles of settling the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, norms of international humanitarian law and universally recognized human and civil rights and freedoms. The head of the department recommended using that experience when investigating crimes of the Ukrainian nationalists against civilians in Donbass. In addition, the head of the department gave subordinates a number of other instructions aimed at collecting evidence of the Ukrainian nationalists' atrocities against civilians and their extermination. All these materials will subsequently be essetial for the trial, which will definitely take place.
Once the briefing was over, the Chairman of the IC of Russia met with children who arrived from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics; among them there are many children who had been left without parental care. The event was attended by heads and about 300 pupils of Donetsk Boarding School No. 1, the Children's Social Center of the Donetsk City Administration, and Uglegorsk Boarding School No. 6, who were accommodated in the year-round recreational sports complex Romashka on the shore of the Sea of Azov upon their arrival. The head of the department talked with the children, their legal representatives, as well as teachers of evacuated children's institutions. He asked about the existing difficulties of a domestic nature, asked questions about medical care, and assured that the staff of the Investigative Committee, in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the arrived DPR and LPR citizens. The children, in turn, showed a perfomance. With tears in her eyes, Headmaster of Donetsk Boarding School No. 1 Olga Nikolaevna Volkova handed Alexander Ivanovich Bastrykin a letter of appreciation on behalf of a large family of Donbass refugees for the provided support. Teenagers and their accompanying persons shared memories of the worries they experienced when they were forced to hide in basements during the bombing raids.
Separately, the meeting participants discussed the topic of children’s education, noting the importance of objective presentation of historical facts to the students. A. I. Bastrykin also stressed that the topic of upbringing and education of the younger generation, especially children in difficult life situations, was very important for the department and indicated the capabilities of the departmental educational system. The children were presented with memorable gifts. Following the meeting, the head of the department instructed the Department of Educational Work to ensure that all children arriving from the special military operation area are accounted for. Also he ordered the educational institutions of the IC of Russia and regional investigative departments, to jointly work out the issue of admitting to departmental educational organizations those wishing to stay in Russia and bind their professional activities to service in law enforcement authorities.
In the final part of the event, A. I. Bastrykin noted, “The task of the Investigative Committee is to ensure that not a single crime of Ukrainian nationalists against civilians of Donbass – women, old people, children – remains without the punishment it deserves. Today, we are all working to achieve tangible results.”