Kyiv, August 26, 2015. Criminal proceedings against [Yevgeniy] Yerofeyev and [Aleksandr] Aleksandrov, two servicemen of the Russian Head Intelligence Directorate, have been transferred to the Ukraine’s Head Military Prosecutor’s Office. “The servicemen are suspected of organizing, developing and committing acts of aggressive war towards Ukraine,” said Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine and Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine Anatoliy Matios at a press briefing at Ukrainian Crisis Media Center. “On August 25, we completed the investigation against these two servicemen – a commander of the Russian Armed Forces reconnaissance unit Evgeniy Yerofeyev and an intelligence group scout Aleksander Aleksandrov,” said Matios.
The Russian servicemen are being tried according to five articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: the organization and implementation of an aggressive war against Ukraine; the transportation of arms and ammunition outside of Ukraine customs control; the illegal possession, storage and transfer of firearms and ammunition; the promotion of a terrorist organization; and committing a terrorist act that led to the death of a Ukrainian soldier. Matios noted that Ukraine will request the maximum sentence for these alleged crimes. The act will be sent to court within the next 10 days.
Yerofeyev and Aleksandrov were captured by Aidar battalion soldiers on May 16, 2015 near Shchastya. Later, it turned out that prisoners were soldiers of the Russian army, and according to the orders of the Russian Armed Forces, arrived in Ukraine on March 26, 2015 as members of an intelligence group numbering 220 people, stated Matios. The group’s task was to capture Ukrainian officers and find sites for crossing the Siversky Donets river. On May 16, Yerofeyev and Aleksandrov attacked the Facade checkpoint near Shchastia in order to take Ukrainian officers prisoner. During the engagement, the Russian soldiers were seriously injured and captured. The Russian Federation officially refused to acknowledge that Yerofeyev and Alexandrov were Russian military personnel. “Our homeland has never given up its military, unlike Russia,” said Matios.
Matios stated that currently the General Military Prosecutor’s Office has brought together over 3,000 criminal proceedings relating to crimes committed by the Russian military and pro-Russian militants on the territory of Ukraine, not limited to the creation of a terrorist organization, terrorism, intentional damage to property, and others. “I am convinced that in the coming months we will have up to 15 verdicts,” said Matios. “The trial will be public, and believe me: none of these invaders – as opposed to Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia – would dare sing the Russian anthem when the verdict is announced, because they are aggressors.”
In addition, Matios reported that the postal service delivered summons for questioning from the Head Military Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine to Russian General Staff Chief V. Gerasimov. Now, a preventive measure of his arrest has been announced. “Ukrainian courts routinely do hard work to supply materials to the international courts. There is the infringement of the Budapest Memorandum, the fact of hybrid warfare, as well as people suspected of committing serious crimes against the Ukrainian state. They will appear in court,” said Matios. “War crimes have no statute of limitations. There have been three tribunals of this kind – Nurnberg, Tokyo and the Hague. We’ll supply the material for the fourth international tribunal. Let Gerasimov realize that he is sitting in front of robes of international justice,” he promised.
Matios also noted that in the near future, various provocations and pressure from the Russian Federation are very likely to occur in an attempt to influence the decision of the Ukrainian court in the case of Yerofeyev and Aleksandrov.