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.

Russia charges Ukrainian from occupied Melitopol with ‘calls to terrorism’ for old social media post about Putin

Halya Coynash
Russia is intensifying terror in occupied Ukraine with Ukrainians seized for social media posts from long before its full-scale invasion

Collage Lokator Media

Collage Lokator Media

A 29-year-old from occupied Melitopol is in Russian captivity, with the occupation ‘Zaporizhzhia oblast investigative committee’ planning to put him on ‘trial’ for a social media post from 2022.  The young man, possibly Kyrylo Prykhodko, is one of a mounting number of Ukrainians from territory seized by the Russians following their full-scale invasion of Ukraine who are facing similar persecution over social media posts, including two from 2014 and 2017. 

The occupation ‘investigative committee’ reported on 1 July that they had finished their ‘criminal investigation’ into what they are claiming was ‘a public call to carry out terrorist activities through the use of the mass media’, under Article 205.2 § 2 of Russia’s criminal code.  The charges have been laid against a 29-year-old man from Melitopol, whom the report does not name, but who the ZMINA Human Rights Centre believes is probably Kyrylo Prykhodko   

Kyrylo Prykhodko Screenshot from the videoed ’confession’
Kyrylo Prykhodko Screenshot from the videoed ’confession’

Russia is announcing the charge and the planned ‘trial’ in July 2024, but it dates back to April 2022, just over a month after Russian soldiers invaded Ukrainian Melitopol and seized control.  Not that you would understand this from the surreal verbiage in the so-called ‘investigative committee’ report. This claims that the young man had, using his social media page and telephone, “for the purpose of making a call to carry out terrorist activities, left commentary in which he called to violent actions in relation to the leadership of the country.”  By “the country” in this surreal verbiage is meant Russia.  The charge can carry anything from a steep fine to up to seven years’ imprisonment.

On 4 June, the same ‘investigative committee’ reported that a 29-year-old had been detained.  The so-called ‘crime’ was said to have been “uncovered’ by the occupied Zaporizhzhia oblast branch of Russia’s notorious ‘centre for countering extremism’, with the young man having “admitted guilt”.

That same day, the Ukrainian agency RIA Melitopol reported that the Russians had abducted two Melitopol residents over 2022 comments in social media.   According to their information, Kyrylo Prykhodko would not be the person mentioned above as his age is clearly stated as 35.  Russia is using the same charge of ‘public calls to carry out terrorism with the use of the mass media. The alleged ‘call to terrorism’ was a post on VKontakte under a photo of the notorious Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s funeral.  The caption read: “The next in line is Putin”.   A Russian propaganda Telegram channel posted a supposed ‘confession’ by Prykhodko, as well as posts he allegedly wrote.   The videoed ‘confession’ is part of the Russian genre, and Prykhodko has clearly been forced, very likely through torture, into reeling off plans to commit terrorist acts, as well as ‘admitting’ to being a veteran of the conflict in occupied Donbas.

RIA Melitopol evidently believes the 29-year-old to be a different person, although one whom the Russians have also detained and are charging with a supposed ‘public call to terrorism’ via social media in 2022. 

Russia is not just violating international law with its invasion and annexation of Ukrainian territory.  It is also flouting fundamental principles, such as that the law is not retroactive.  Nor, indeed, is jurisdiction, yet Russia is accusing Ukrainians of alleged ‘crimes’ under Russian legislation although the actions took place long before Russia staged its fake ‘referendums’ as excuse for rubberstamping annexation. 

Oleksandr Plysiuk with the words reading ’Death to Putin’
Oleksandr Plysiuk with the words reading ’Death to Putin’

The record for occupied Zaporizhzhia oblast would appear to be the ‘arrest’ in March 2024 of Oleksandr Plysiuk from Melitopol.  The 27-year-old was seized by the Russians over a social media post in 2017.   This is a ‘selfie’ of the young man who is in a mask with the Ukrainian Trident next to the words “Death to Putin’ written on the wall.

In occupied Kherson oblast, the Russians were even more brazen, with a person identified as ‘Serhiy Y.’ fined for a post on the Odnoklassniki social network from 2014.  The post contained the symbol of Right Sector, a Ukrainian nationalist organization which Russia declared ‘extremist’ in November 2014. 

These are the worst, but not the only, cases since the Russian invaders have also deported Ukrainian citizens from their own homes in occupied parts of Ukraine for pro-Ukrainian posts on social media.

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