For years the counterintelligence of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has been monitoring Sergey Semenchenko, leader of the missile and artillery weaponry service of one of the LPR (Luhansk People’s Republic) battalions. A citizen of Ukraine and resident of Luhansk, Semenchenko was involved in the distribution of ammunition for nearly two years, but later left the separatist-controlled territory for family reasons. According to TSN TV program, he is already in a pre-trial detention center in Lviv.
Semenchenko was the captain of the “LPR People’s Militia”. In his brigade he coordinated the reception of Russian weaponry and its distribution to militants. SBU counterintelligence monitored him for nearly a year and arrested him when he arrived in Ukraine-controlled territory. The Halytskyi Court in Lviv has detained Semenchenko for two months.
The arrested man is collaborating with the investigation, providing documentary evidence that Luhansk militants are fighting with Russian weaponry and are commanded by Russians. He claims to have had contact with many Russian regular officers – the chief of staff, the deputy for combat training, the deputy for weaponry. According to Semenchenko, they all arrive from Russian Novocherkassk under invented names and with LPR documents.
Counterintelligence officers found a lot of valuable information and photos on his cellphone and the flash drives he was carrying.
According to Semenchenko, the local militants are no longer thrilled by the fact that they are governed by Moscow.
“Nobody is delighted by what is happening,neither the citizens nor the soldiers. The soldiers who used to be there have already left a long time ago. They have been doing their own thing for a long time: some raising chickens, others doing something else. And those who come leave after two months. They are supposed to sit, and we are supposed to clean up for them everywhere, restore, paint, whitewash, build. And do they allocate money for building? No. You get your salary, chip in, buy paint, paint, cry if you need to. But it’s all been bought with your own money,” Semenchenko said.
He also showed in a photo how at his own expense he camouflaged warehouses with Russian weaponry. He claims to have spent roughly 100,000 rubles ($1664 USD) of his own money.
Semenchenko explained that the Russian officers are controlled by other Russian officers from the FSB.
“The special services call themselves ‘cupols’ (domes). They control their own soldiers, oversee them, so that they don’t steal, don’t walk around, don’t run out of any documents,” the arrested man recalled.
Semenchenko is threatened with between 8 and 15 years imprisonment for his participation in the terrorist organization. However, the valuable evidence of Russian involvement which he brought with himself may lighten the sentence. He is willing to testify at the Hague.