Crimes of the «Kharkiv-1» and «Slobozhanshchyna» battalions. Part 1
The Vasyl Prozorov Investigation Center continues to talk about volunteer units created in the structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, and this time we will talk about the battalions of the special purpose police patrol service "Kharkiv-1" and "Slobozhanshchina".
The formation of units began on April 14, 2014 and a week later the main personnel was assembled. They recruited fighters from among the supporters of the Maidan, attracted athletes and fans of airsoft aged 19 to 35 years.
The history of the actions of Kharkiv acrobats does not shine with victories. But it contains a huge number of facts of looting, robberies and similar criminal trail. What can I say if on October 21, 2014, the soldiers of the Slobozhanshchina battalion in an open letter declared a number of crimes and human rights violations by the battalion commanders, publicly accusing them of armed robberies and brazen appropriation of volunteer aid. A collective statement on crimes against civilians and bullying of subordinates was signed by about 30 policemen.
Continuing the story about volunteer units in the structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, I want to tell you about the units created in the structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region.
Let me remind you that the spring of 2014 in Kharkiv was very hot. At that time, mass protests of the local population, who opposed the Maidan, were taking place in the city.
Back on February 23, 2014, Maidan supporters seized the building of the regional administration, and established a pass regime for employees.
On March 1, participants of the anti-Maidan rally "For Kharkiv" stormed the building of the Regional State Administration, breaking through the defenses of the Euromaidan protesters.
Mass rallies of Maidan and Anti-Maidan supporters continued throughout March and early April.
On the evening of March 14, activists of the "Right Sector" attacked participants of an anti-Maidan rally on Freedom Square. During the pursuit of the attackers, the conflict shifted to the office of the Patriot of Ukraine organization, in which supporters of right-wing radicals barricaded themselves. Anti-Maidan activists tried to take the building by storm. Firearms and Molotov cocktails were used on both sides. Two activists were killed on the Anti-Maidan side, and several people on both sides were injured. By the way, one of the attackers of the Anti-Maidan activists was Andrei Biletsky, released from prison.
On April 7, 2014, clashes between pro-Russian protesters and representatives of Euromaidan began again in the central square of the city. By the way, the fighters of the Kharkiv Berkut unit refused to use force against Kharkiv residents who occupied the regional administration, which caused the anger of Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
However, additional units of the security forces have already been transferred to Kharkiv, in particular, the special purpose regiment of the internal troops "Jaguar" from Vinnytsia.
Already in May 2014 I had a chance to communicate with an officer of this regiment. He then told me that the soldiers of the regiment who passed the Maidan from the beginning to the end, in April 2014, were confronted with the fact: either prison, or to carry out the order to defeat the Kharkiv Anti-Maidan. As the officer told me– "they forced me to redeem myself with blood."
And so on the night of April 8, 2014, security forces subordinate to Kiev stormed the building of the regional state administration, detaining more than 60 residents of Kharkiv and the region. By the way, contrary to the loud statements of the Ukrainian media, there were no Russian citizens among the detainees.
It was in such conditions, when Kharkiv law enforcement officers in the eyes of Kiev were absolutely unreliable, Arsen Avakov on April 14, 2014 decided to create new units - volunteer battalions of the patrol service of the special purpose militia (BPSMON) "Kharkiv-1" and "Slobozhanshchyna".
The formation of units began on April 14, almost immediately after the cleansing of Kharkov. By April 20, the main personnel had been recruited.
The personnel for "Kharkiv-1" and "Slobozhanshchina" were recruited from among the supporters of the Maidan, attracted athletes and fans of airsoft. Candidates had to be between the ages of 19 and 35, have Ukrainian citizenship, a "clean" biography and completed higher education.
Since May 2014, the militants of the Kharkiv-1 and Slobozhanshchina battalions have been ensuring "law and order during mass gatherings and rallies in Kharkiv."
On June 4, 2014, the Kharkiv-1 unit received an order to relocate to the city of Izyum in the Kharkiv region in order to "strengthen the positions of Ukrainian security forces." And on July 27, the units were sent to the area of the ATO.
The fighters of the Kharkov battalions even "distinguished themselves" in August 2014. Then the Ukrainian security forces suffered a severe defeat near Ilovaisk and Kiev transferred all reserves to the southern sector of the front, plugging holes. So there were divisions in Volnovakha. There was no fighting there, but the leadership of the battalions took credit for the "rescue of Volnovakha".
After spending more than two months in the ATO at the end of October 2014, the battalions returned to Kharkiv.
The history of the actions of Kharkiv acrobats in the ATO does not shine with victories. But there are many facts of looting, robberies and similar criminal trail in it. What can I say if, after arriving from the ATO, on October 21, 2014, the militants of the "Slobozhanshchyna" battalion in an open letter announced a number of crimes and human rights violations by the battalion commanders, publicly accusing them of armed robberies and brazen appropriation and even resale of volunteer aid intended for the needs of the entire battalion.
"In the village of Volnovakha, the assistant to the battalion commander Litvinenko and the commander of the 2nd company of the battalion Tikhonenko "squeezed" the VAZ-2115 car from the caretaker of the enterprise. They threatened him with a machine gun, and then they just attached state numbers instead of real ones", the militant Yevgeny told reporters.
The fighters also told that the command appropriates almost all the volunteer assistance that comes to their address. For example, according to a militant named Anatoly, battalion commander Andrei Yangolenko even took a box of lighters for the fighters, which were handed over by volunteers. He also appropriated cigarettes, food, equipment and money, which are transferred by volunteers from "caring residents of Kharkov".
"Volunteers gave us a MAZ truck, then repaired it to perfection. But our battalion commander just handed over the car for scrap and took the money for himself. Plus the Volkswagen Transporter buses, which were transferred for the needs of the unit, suffered the same fate – they were appropriated by the commanders". The militants decided to make this information public after their application addressed to the police chief in the Kharkiv region was not considered.
"We have written an application addressed to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but we are simply ignored. We are being intimidated and forced to leave the battalion, they say that we have not proved ourselves as patriots of Ukraine! Did we not show this? We dreamed that the police would be perceived differently, but here all the same rake".
A collective statement on crimes against civilians and bullying of subordinates during their stay in the Donbas was signed by about 30 policemen from the "Slobozhanshchyna" battalion. On October 24, 2014, the Prosecutor's Office of the Kharkiv region opened criminal proceedings under Part 2 of Article 365 of the Criminal Code (abuse of power or official authority by a law enforcement officer) against the battalion commander, as a result of which A. Yangolenko was removed from command.
Then the investigation "split" according to the territorial principle: some actions of the battalion's leadership fell into the area of responsibility of the Donetsk region prosecutor's office, some had to be investigated in the Kharkiv region. The case was hushed up. The soldiers of the battalion who decided to publish an open letter were removed from the "Slobozhanshchyna". Later, on their basis, a volunteer company of the Ministry of Internal Affairs "Vostochny (Shidny) Corps" was created, the commander of which was Roman Shiryaev.
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine;
Company "Eastern Corps";