If it wasn’t for such people like Volodymyr Rybak, the entire Donbas would have been captured – Rybak’s wife


The investigation of the case of murder of government official Volodymyr Rybak is still in progress. His murder has political motives, claims his wife.

Kyiv, April 18, 2016. “The last Volodymyr’s words were that “each one of us is responsible”. […] Responsibility of the society starts with responsibility of each person. If there were no people like my husband, the entire Donbas would have been captured,” said Olena Rybak, Volodymyr Rybak’s widow at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. April 17 is the second anniversary of murder of Volodymyr Rybak, deputy of Horlivka (Donetsk region) town council, one of few who dared publicly oppose separatist plot in the east of Ukraine in spring 2014.

Mrs. Rybak thanked everyone who came the day before to a meeting commemorating Volodymyr Rybak. There were people from the occupied territories among the participants. “I want to express my gratitude for their courage. The fact that they were present here, in Kyiv, yesterday is the evidence of growing self-awareness of Ukrainian people. It gives us hope that, despite all the difficulties and huge efforts, we will succeed in making Ukraine democratic law-governed state,” said Mrs. Rybak.

“Volodymyr Rybak was defending Ukrainian flag and the very future of his own country. […] May the soul of hidden traitor freeze and the hand of devious bribe-taker  grow stiff at the name of Volodymyr Rybak and the memory of his self-sacrifice. Heroes like him become an example and a tower of strength for those strong in spirit and the eternal reproach for the cowards,” said Olha Klymko, member of the initiative group of visiting courts on crimes against Maidan, quoting a letter by Myroslav Marynovych, Vice Rector of Ukrainian Catholic University.

Volodymyr Rybak was kidnapped on April 17, 2014 in Horlivka right after pro-Russian meeting organized to support the town mayor Yevhen Klep. Rybak was trying to take down a flag of self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) from the building of the town council. In four days, on April 22, his corpse was found in the Kazennyi Torets River near Raihorodok, Donetsk region, showing signs of violent death. The corpse of pro-Ukrainian student, activist Yuriy Popravka, was found together with Rybak’s. According to the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, “cause of death of was combined body injury resulting from torture, with further drowning of still living unconscious victims”.

Olena Rybak states that the information law enforcements dispose of “precisely proves that the separatists leader Igor Bezler and Igor Girkin were initiators of the kidnapping”, the main reason being Rybak’s pro-Ukrainian standing. According to Mrs. Rybak, this was the third attempt at kidnapping. She reminded that the day before, on April 16, Volodymyr said in an interview that Bezler called him from Crimea and threatened that “he will come and dispose of pro-Ukrainian activists”. In another interview Rybak stated he did not want to go into hiding and called upon all the patriots to unite and defend their town. “Taking a flag down was not a spontaneous action. Volodymyr was fiercely opposing this “Russian spring” and “Horlivka self-defense troops” organized by Yevhen Klep, the then mayor of Horlivka. Rybak was not hiding; he gave audio- and video interviews and appealed to patriots. His public stance was evident for everyone, for people, authorities and separatists, and it could not be any other way. Nevertheless, no one expected it to be so low, disgusting and cynical,” said Mrs. Rybak.

The investigation failed to establish the identities of direct participants of kidnapping, tortures and murder of Volodymyr Rybak. The only person who could know something about Rybak’s murderers is Yevhen Klep, the former mayor of Horlivka. At first Klep was openly supporting Russian standing, and then he fled to the territory controlled by Ukraine. He claims having been captured by militants and kept prisoner for some time. Mrs. Rybak stated this capture was an imitation, as people who presumably kept him hostage, in reality were defending him. “Information Resistance” group prepared incontestable evidence of Klep’s guilt, and I presented them to the former Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema and former head of Ukraine’s Security Service Valentyn Nalyvaichanko in due time,” said Mrs. Rybak. “I spent five hours giving video-recorded evidence, in addition to the existing materials – video, audio and evidence of other witnesses. It resulted in Klep being detained, brought to the Security Service of Ukraine and released instantly”. The acting head of the Security Service of Ukraine asked Mrs. Rybak to come and give evidence once again.

UCMC Notes:

Olena Rybak, widow of Volodymyr Rybak, Horlivka City Council member, who was tortured and killed for opposing separatism in the city
Olha Klimko, member of the initiative group of visiting courts on crimes against Maidan