SBU has identified 40 “activists” involved in the Kharkiv disturbances of 16 December
Information of this is given on the website of the Kharkiv Regional Administration citing the Head of the Department of the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) for the Kharkiv region, Andriy Mukhataev who reported to a session of the Regional Council.
Mr Mukhataev said that in investigating the incident which took place in Kharkiv on 16 December at 197 Klochkivska St, the SBU had studied over 50 hours of different video footage which had enabled them to established specific episodes and fragments of the events which took place. They have identified over 200 participants in the mass action, and around 40 “active participants in what happened”.
Mr Mukhataev also stated that particular individuals had been exerting pressure on the investigation of this crime. “I can say that individuals interested in destabilization are continuing to put psychological pressure on witnesses, are continuing to destabilize the situation in the city. There have been not just isolated incidents of bodily injuries being inflicted as well as attempts to intimidate members of the family of some individuals”.
He also stated that individuals who have no interest in seeing a comprehensive and objective investigation into this criminal matter have attempted to interfere with the process of documenting the level of severity of injuries in particular hospitals.
He reported too that the investigation team was aware of cases where consultation services by individual representatives of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies had been given which ran counter to a comprehensive investigation of this criminal matter. “We know who these people are and we will react in accordance with the law”.
“Together with the law enforcement agencies and prosecutors office, we will put a stop to all these attempts, regardless of the individuals involved”, Mr Mukhataev declared.
The investigation has established that those who took part in the events of 16 December included not only Kharkiv residents, but also people from other regions. “We are finding out where they live, their role and place in these events. Colleagues from other regional departments of the SBU and the Central Office are helping us in this. I must state that these people are not known for political activity which gives grounds for assuming that their participation was organized and directed at destabilizing the situation”.
“Recent events taking place in Kharkiv demonstrate that people who are prepared to place passengers in the sky in danger try to escape liability hiding behind their affiliation with a party. People involved in bribe-taking and corruption hide behind party badges. In this case and with these events analogous games are being played. Kharkiv will never become a crime capital regardless of who wants it”, Mr. Mukhataev stated.
Turning to the deputies, the Head of the SBU Department for the Kharkiv region said: “I would hope that we and you will all have the civic courage to bring the investigation into this criminal matter to its legal and just conclusion and resolution”.
As already reported, on 16 December, after a rally against the construction of a shopping centre at
197 Klochkivska St in Kharkiv, there were crowd disturbances with individuals being beaten up in the presence of the heads of the City Council and police units. On 18 December the management of the commercial group “Target” accused the Kharkiv City Mayor Mykhailo Dobkin and the Secretary of the City Council Gennady Kernes of provoking mass disturbances and the assaults of 16 December.
The criminal investigation launched by the SBU is under Article 294 § 1 of the Criminal Code (organization of mass riots accompanied by violence against individuals, as well as active participation in mass riots). Criminal investigations over the mass disturbance on 16 December, as well as over police negligence, have been launched by the prosecutors office of the Kharkiv region.