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.

Terror and videoed ‘repentance’ for supporting Ukraine in Russian-occupied Crimea

Halya Coynash
A 54-year-old woman from Sevastopol is just the latest of many Ukrainians forced to ‘repent’ on camera for saying ‘Glory to Ukraine’, flying the Ukrainian flag, correctly reporting Russia’s killing of civilians, etc

From left, Svitlana Vitalievna, Yury Velichko and his son Oleksandr Screenshots from the videos

From left, Svitlana Vitalievna, Yury Velichko and his son Oleksandr Screenshots from the videos

A Ukrainian from occupied Crimea has been detained for calling out ‘Glory to Ukraine!’, with this treated as ‘discrediting the Russian armed forces’.  The 54-year-old woman from Sevastopol was also t terrorized into publicly ‘apologising’ on video. 

The Crimean Human Rights Group [CHRG] reports that a video appeared on the Internet on 13 June in which the woman could be seen walking along October Revolution Avenue and calling out ‘Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes!’’. She was detained, with an administrative charge laid under Article 20.3.3  § 1 of Russia’s code of administrative offences [‘public acts aimed at discrediting the use of the Russian Federation’s armed forces’].  The latter is one of the charges hastily added to Russian legislation within ten days of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  In occupied Crimea, it is increasingly used not only to silence opposition to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, but also to persecute for any demonstration of pro-Ukrainian sentiments.  

The woman, who identifies herself only by her name and patronymic, as Svitlana Vitalievna, will almost certainly be ‘convicted’, and face a fine of up to 50 thousand roubles.  We can only guess what threats were used to force her to claim that she “doesn’t understand” why she used the words, that she doesn’t support this; to apologize profusely and to wish for [Russia’s] ‘victory’ as soon as possible.  

The same applies to two very young men from Kerch who were forced to make ‘repentant videos’ for their anti-war graffiti.  Both Yehor Savchenko and Mykhailo Zhidkov are clearly saying what they were told to say and Yehor is visibly terrified and trying not to cry.  CHRG has found details on the occupation ‘Kerch municipal court’ that ‘judge’ Olena Bogdanovych placed Savchenko under house arrest.  The ‘court’ site does not name the charge laid, however Russian-controlled publications write that he is accused of ‘vandalism motivated by political hatred’ (Article 214 § 2 of Russia’s criminal code).  Zhidkov is likely facing the same charge, which carries a sentence of up to three years’ imprisonment. The example given likens the ‘Z’ used as the symbol of Russia’s war against Ukraine to the Nazi swastika, and makes it evident that Savchenko’s final, tearful words about supporting Russia’s so-called ‘special military operation’ have been extracted through physical duress or threats, with the same almost certainly true of Zhidkov.

A father and son were also fined and forced to ‘apologize’ before a camera for their pro-Ukrainian position.  The information, reported by CHRG, comes from Alexander Talipov, whose role in ‘denouncing’ Crimeans for singing Ukrainian songs, flying a Ukrainian flag or similar has been reported here on many occasions.  On this occasion, Talipov claimed that Yury Velichko and his son, Oleksandr, had “discredited the army and president on social media, and denied the territorial status of Crimea.”  Talipov went on to say that they had found Ukrainian flags at their home, as well as what he claimed to be symbols of ‘Nazi’ Ukrainian battalions. Talipov initially asserted that both father and son had been jailed for 15 days, but then reported that the occupation ‘Razdolne district court’ had merely fined them two thousand roubles each and released them.   They too were forced to ‘apologize’.

Back in April, the Centre for Journalist Investigations probed what it described as “a community of Russian denouncers active in Crimea who hunt out those among Crimeans who do not like the regime of [Russian president Vladimir] Putin and do not support Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. They later write denunciations of such people, harass them on the Internet and apologize on camera.  Some end up persecuted by the FSB [security service].  In the best instance they get to pay a fine, in the worst – get a prison sentence.”   This community (and Talipov’s Telegram page) is called Crimean SMERSH, after the notorious Soviet military ‘counter-intelligence’.  

Talipov himself is a Ukrainian, however took Russian citizenship long before Russia’s invasion of Crimea.  He had, furthermore, begun hunting down what he calls ‘anti-Russian’ elements long before the beginning of the full-scale invasion.  Although he is not the only individual in occupied Crimea continuing the worst of Soviet practices, he has played a leading role in persecuting Ukrainians for patriotic songs, for the Ukrainian flag or for Ukraine’s national anthem.  Among his other ‘achievements’ was the dismissal and persecution of lecturer Oleksiy Bielozierov (see: Crimean lecturer dismissed, beaten and jailed for Ukrainian songs gets new sentence over a post about Russia’s killing of civilians

More details about Russia’s mounting terror against those who show support for Ukraine here:

Sharp increase in persecution for pro-Ukrainian position in Russian-occupied Crimea

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