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.

Young Crimean faces possible prison sentence for kicking the Russian flag because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Halya Coynash
Hlib Malkov is just 21, yet, when understands very well that Crimea is part of Ukraine and that Russia’s so-called referendum was an illegal fake

Hlib Malkov from the video ’apology’ he almost certainly made under duress

Hlib Malkov from the video ’apology’ he almost certainly made under duress

Pro-Russian ‘vigilantes’ have reported 21-year-old Hlib Malkov to the Russian FSB for correctly calling occupied Sevastopol Ukraine.  The young Ukrainian was first forced to publicly ‘repent’ for having kicked at the Russian flag and photo of founder of the Wagner mercenaries Yevgeny Prigozhin.  That, however, was not deemed enough, and he is now facing both administrative and criminal charges for his pro-Ukrainian position.

The incident over which he was detained came soon after the almost certainly Kremlin commissioned jet plane crash that killed Prigozhin and the commander of the Wagner mercenaries Dmitry Utkin. At least one of the spontaneous memorials that appeared to these criminals was in occupied Sevastopol.  On 25 August, Malkov was detained by the occupation ‘police’ for having kicked portraits of both Prigozhin and Utkin, and either trampled or kicked the Russian flag.  He was also said to have “publicly expressed disagreement with the special military operation” [Moscow’s euphemism for its war of aggression against Ukraine).

He is reportedly facing administrative charges under Article 20.3.3 of Russia’s code of administrative charges.  This was one of the articles rushed into legislation after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Crimea and punishes for what is termed ‘discrediting the Russian Federation army’.  He has also been accused under Article 329 of Russia’s criminal code of desecration of the Russian flag, with this carrying a sentence of up to a year’s imprisonment.

On 8 September, two Russian Telegram channels posted two videos with Malkov. In the first of these, Malkov is asked to explain why he kicked the Russian flag.  He explains:

Because the Russian Federation invaded my country.

What country?


You’re not in Ukraine now, you’re in Sevastopol.

Sevastopol is Ukraine, as is all of Crimea. “’

Asked why he “thinks so”, Malkov replies because that is the case and refers to the official inclusion in the Ukrainian SSR of Crimea in 1954.  When the person, presumably an occupation ‘enforcement officer’ demurs, citing the fake ‘referendum’ that Russia staged on 16 March 2016, Malkov rightly points out that this stunt (which no democratic country has recognized) was illegal.  Asked if he “thinks” that he is in Ukraine, he answers affirmatively.

The video appears to break off here and it is not clear what followed.  The other video is in a format that has become disturbingly familiar since Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea and was, typically, posted by Aleksandr Talipov, a notorious collaborator on his Crimean SMERSH channel.  Talipov has already been involved in reporting Ukrainians to the FSB or ‘police’ for singing Ukrainian patriotic songs, waving a Ukrainian flag or any other demonstration of identity with Ukraine.  He has also posted numerous videos where those he reported are shown reading obviously prepared texts in which they ‘repent’ of their actions and ‘apologize’.  There is every reason to assume that such ‘repentance’ has been obtained through torture, threats or other forms of duress.

In the video on 8 September, Malkov states that “on 25 August I kicked the flag of the Russian Federation out of objection to the SVO [the abbreviation for the so-called ‘special military operation’, a term that Malkov himself would be unlikely to use voluntarily]. I admit my guilt, repent and want to apologise to all residents of Sevastopol.  That’s all.”

Crimean Realities say that the only information they have found about Malkov is that he graduated from school in 2019 and that he is working in Sevastopol as an estate agent.  If 21 now, he was only about 12 when Russian invaded.  It is cheering that he has emerged so unscathed from the militarization, propaganda and indoctrination that Russia immediately imposed on schools.  The methods that Russia uses against those refusing to be silent are savage, and Hlib Malkov is now in danger for his independence and honesty.

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