war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Families of murdered hostages demand proper investigation

The relatives of Volodymyr Rybak, Yury Popravka and Yury Diakovsky, who died of horrific injuries after being abducted by Kremlin-backed militants are critical of police inaction

    Yury Popravko                          Volodymyr Rybak                           Yury Diakovsky

The wife and mothers of three men believed to have been tortured to death by Kremlin-backed militants have called on the police to carry out proper murder investigations.  As reported, the police may have already tried to terminate the investigation into the murder of 19-year-old student Yury Popravka.  

At a press conference in Kyiv on Tuesday Olena Rybak, widow of murdered Horlivka deputy, Volodymyr Rybak, noted the totally incorrect forensic medical assessment.  This came to light only after the burials had been held of her husband, Yury Propravka and 25-year-old Yury Diakovsky.   She and the mothers of the two young men held funerals a day after receiving the bodies. 

Olena Rybak says that she and her lawyer have carried out a thorough investigation and spoken to witnesses.  Many are now in Kyiv, but they are also able to get to Slovyansk now that it is no longer under militant control.   

“I know almost everything. I even know who killed him. I definitely know that he was there and have material evidence”.  It was only yesterday that the prosecutor finally asked her to come in, Radio Svoboda reports.

Yury Popravka’s mother, Yaroslava also reports that it is concerned individuals rather than the police who are helping investigate her son’s murder.  “There are witnesses who’ve been questioned, yet nobody’s dealing with it.  Why not?”

The police are making no comment.

Yury Popravka was studying in the Sociology and Law Faculty of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and had been active in the EuroMaidan protests.  More information may now be known, however at the time it was reported that he had disappeared after visiting her girlfriend, a student in Kharkiv.  He left her home on April 17.  It seems likely that he was taken prisoner by the militants who had seized control in Slovyansk. 

The bodies of Volodymyr Rybak and Yury Popravka were found on April 19 in a river outside Slovyansk.   Both had been subjected to torture and had horrific injuries.  The police reported that they had probably been thrown into the river, unconscious but alive. 

While little was known of the movements of Yury Popravka and Yury Diakovsky, there was ample prove of the militants’ involvement in Volodymyr Rybak’s abduction.  The deputy had been at a rally in support of Ukrainian unity outside the city council building.  There was conflict with pro-Russian militants after he entered the building, seemingly to remove the flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.  There is video footage showing the people who took him away.

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