Reporters have found an archived video of Vladimir Tsemakh, former commander of anti-air defense in Sloviansk, in which he was interviewed about the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. On 29 June this year, Tsemakh was placed under arrest by a court in Kyiv.
The news outlet Current Time has found several videos of Tsemakh on a YouTube channel belonging to Russia’s Motherland party, which was founded by Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin, who is under personal sanctions in connection with the annexation of Crimea and the aggression in the Donbas.
The YouTube channel describes Tsemakh as a well-known figure in Novorossiya with combat experience in Afghanistan and one of the first to join the ranks of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).
In an interview from 2015, Tsemakh cites a theory that was popular on the Russian federal TV channels at the time, namely that the militants had been aiming at a Ukrainian military aircraft. One was supposedly shot down, but the second Ukrainian attack aircraft shot down the passenger liner. This theory was refuted by international investigators a long time ago.
In the video, Tsemakh said that they had concealed something.
“One word in this quotation was bleeped out by the video’s creators, but if you read his lips, you can guess that it could have been the word ‘Buk’ – an anti-air missile launcher. According to the international investigation, the Malaysian Boeing was shot down by precisely such a Russian Buk,” the journalists write.
Tsemakh had been residing in the separatist-controlled city of Snizhne in Ukraine’s Donetsk province. The city lies 18 km from the Russian border.
The Ukrainian authorities have accused him of founding a terrorist organization, for which he could face 15 years in prison.
Tsemakh’s wife told the press that he had been knocked unconscious by two Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) agents while home alone and then taken into Kyiv-controlled territory. The SBU has not made any official comment on the incident.