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.

Crimean violently detained, prosecuted and forced to ‘apologise’ for awaiting Ukraine’s liberation of Russian-occupied Crimea

Halya Coynash
Three members of Andriy Babychenko’s family were convicted of ‘disobeying’ the armed and masked men who burst into their home and forced him to the ground because of pro-Ukrainian social media posts. He was convicted on another charge and may face more

Andriy Babychenko Photo from video posted by collaborator Aleksandr Talipov

Andriy Babychenko Photo from video posted by collaborator Aleksandr Talipov

Andriy Babychenko from occupied Feodosia was detained by Russia’s notorious ‘anti-extremism’ squad on or around 15 September over social media posts in support of Ukraine.  This was the latest of many prosecutions in occupied Crimea under draconian legislation aimed at silencing protest over Russia’s full-scale invasion of Crimea in which the targets have been forced to publicly ‘repent’ their pro-Ukrainian position.

OVD Info, which first reported the case, has established only that Babychenko is 31 and, seemingly, a narrative designer who writes scenarios for computer games.  Armed and masked men from the so-called ‘centre for countering extremism’ burst into the Babychenko family apartment and took Babychenko away.  He was charged and ‘convicted’ by the Russian occupation ‘Feodosia municipal court’ of two charges, of ‘discrediting the Russian armed forces’ (Article 20.3.3 § 1 of Russia’s code of administrative offences) and of ‘disobeying enforcement officer’ (Article 19.3 § 1).  The article on ‘discrediting the armed forces’ is one of four criminal and administrative charges added to Russian legislation within ten days of Russia’s full-scale invasion and very widely used in occupied Crimea.  ‘Conviction’ on either of these two charges is virtually guaranteed, with the Russian-controlled ‘courts’ asking no questions and imposing either fines or periods of administrative arrest. 

One of the shocking aspects of this case is that the charge of ‘disobeying the police’ was also laid against Andriy’s parents, Viacheslav Ivanovych Babychenko and Olha Hennadievna Babychenko  All three members of the family were ‘found guilty’ on 15 September by ‘judge’ Yekateryna Aleksandrovna Danilenko  however the relevant ‘court’ pages do not indicate what penalty was imposed.  What was deemed to constitute ‘disobeying enforcement officers’ can be viewed here.  Olha Hennadievna is understandably outraged and demanding to know what the two armed and masked men are doing by forcing her son to the ground and binding him.

A no less disturbing part of this is the collaboration between the ‘centre for countering extremism’ and Alexander Talipov, a notorious collaborator who uses his Crimean SMERSH Telegram channel to ‘denounce’ Crimeans for their pro-Ukrainian views.  In most cases, such ‘denunciations’ are accompanied by videos in which the victim is shown ‘publicly repenting’.  It is unclear what methods are used to obtain such videos, but it seems safe to assume that the ‘apologies’ are not given voluntarily. In this case, Talipov posted two videos.  The first of these, that of the armed ‘search’ in which Andriy Babychenko was forced to the ground, can only have been obtained from the ‘centre’.  The second is of Babychenko ‘repenting’ of having “discredited and insulted the armed forces” and promising not to do it again.

Essentially the only information about the actual posts has come from Talipov.  In the video of the armed raid, he calls the person detained (whom he does not name) by a noun from the verb to wait.  This is used by the invaders for Ukrainians who are waiting and hoping that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will come and liberate them, and drive out the invaders. Talipov asserts that Babychenko posted texts on social media and Telegram in which “he called to strike at the Crimean bridge, awaited the arrival of the Ukrainian Armed Forces; discredited and insulted the army, the country, the president.”  It is unclear what this actually referred to, however ‘judge’ Igor Ivanovych Gavryliuk duly convicted Babychenko of the administrative charge of discrediting the armed forces on 25 September.

In his post under the ‘repentance’ video, Talipov uses the right name and patronymic (Andriy Viacheslavovych), but calls the young man Borysenko.  Most ominously, he suggests that Andriy is falsely hoping that his ‘apology’ will be the end of this torment.  Not the case, he says, “for you, Borysenko, it’s all only beginning.”

It is unclear at present what is meant, but such heavy-handed measures, and the fact that the video, posted on 18 September, was almost certainly while he was in custody, may mean that criminal charges are also planned. 

See also:

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

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