Photo: Ukrainska Pravda
On October 3, 2017, two Ukrainian border guards, Ihor Dziubak and Bohdan Martson, disappeared in Sumy region on the border with Russia. Now they are in Moscow, in Lefortovo remand prison No.2.
The Russians charge them with “illegal crossing of the border” and “malicious disobedience to law enforcement officers.” Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov called the abduction a “terrorist attack”. “They were captured in a neutral zone, that is, in the territory of Ukraine. This is pure terrorism on the part of Russia against our country,” he stated. Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have every reason to believe that the two Ukrainians were stolen from the Ukrainian territory for an exchange.
Ukrayinska Pravda learned the details of the border guards’ abduction. UCMC offers you an adapted and translated version.
Ihor Dziubak was born in 1982 in Khmelnytskyi region. He graduated from the Academy of Civil Service in Khmelnytskyi and began serving in the Border Guard in 2003.
Bohdan Martson was born in 1988. He graduated from the Academy of Civil Service in Khmelnytskyi as well.
In April of this year, both began their service in the Sumy border guard unit.
On October 3, Bohdan Martson and Ihor Dziubak went to the state border with Bryansk region.
The car stopped at a distance of 10 meters from the boundary line. The border guards came out of the car. They had only a technical passport, license, and authorization documents on them.
The connection with Bohdan and Ihor interrupted at about 8pm that day. On October 9, it became known that the Russian court arrested both border guards for two months.
The Ukrainian side immediately sought a meeting with representatives of the Russian border service to sort out the problem. A dry confirmation was the only response.
“We could not get any specific information, not even how far from the border the detention took place,” said Oleh Slobodian, spokesperson of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.
Evidence of abduction
According to some people in law enforcement agencies, two months before Martson and Dziubak disappeared the Ukrainian side allegedly recorded talks of Russians mentioning the task to detain two Ukrainian border guards.
This makes law enforcement bodies believe that the Ukrainian border guards were abducted deliberately, and, most likely, for an exchange.
Oleh Slobodian claims the grass was trampled in two places not far from Bohdan and Ihor’s car, which means that there was an ambush there.
The fact that the Ukrainian border guards were moved to Moscow, and neither a consul nor relatives were allowed to visit them is another argument supporting the version of a deliberate abduction, said Slobodian.
Slobodian insists that Ihor and Bohdan were near the border because they were fulfilling a task.
Communication with the guys takes place only through a lawyer hired by Martson’s family. Ihor’s parents are sure that the lawyer will not be able to help in this politically motivated case.
According to Bohdan Martson’s wife Olha, the lawyer saw him three or four times. However, the lawyer does not say how the guys got into the territory of the Russian Federation.
Despite such conditions, Bohdan was able to send important news. “Through a lawyer, he asked to tell to the border service and us that they are not traitors and did not go there on their own will,” said Olha.
Investigation in Ukraine
Immediately after the disappearance of the border guards, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office opened a criminal proceeding under the article “intentional homicide” with the note “whereabouts unknown.”
Natalia Naumenko, a press secretary of the Sumy Regional Prosecutor’s Office, said: “We are considering several versions. The main version is the abduction and illegal deprivation of liberty. The second version is that they crossed the border themselves, being disorientated, for example.” There are no signs on the line of the border between Ukraine and Russia. Russia refuses to demarcate the border with Ukraine; the only sign was marked in 2012 in Chernihiv region. Since the beginning of Russian aggression, Ukraine itself has begun to demarcate the border with the Russian Federation, provide the information signs and block traffic routes.
Who will they be exchanged for?
The State Border Guard Service believes Russia is going to suggest exchanging the Ukrainian border guards for two FSB officers: Askar Kulub, the deputy head of the reserve outpost of military unit 9930, and Vladimir Kuznetsov, the head of the military working dog team from the same unit.
On June 30, 2017, the Ukrainian border guards together with the servicemen of 56th brigade detained them in Kherson region on the Perekop Bay shore. The Russians explained that their FSB officers “got lost.”
According to the SBU, “from December 2016 to June 30, 2017, Kulub and Kuznetsov performed special duty assignments in the interests of the Russian Federation in order to change the border of Ukraine.”
No official exchange offer has been received yet.
This week Martson and Dzyubak were taken to Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison.
Exactly five years ago, Russian oppositionist Leonid Razvozzhayev was delivered to this detention center directly from the center of Kyiv. Then he was kidnapped by the Russian special services and carried with a sack on his head across the Ukrainian-Russian border.
As of October 30, 2017, the Ukrainian consuls have not managed to gain access to the Ukrainian border guards who may shed light on how they have come to be in Russia.