The Kirovsky District Court of Rostov-on-Don accidentally proved the presence of the Russian military in the east of Ukraine while delivering a verdict in the case of bribery for the food supplies to Russian military units stationed there.
The court considered the case of a certain V.N. Zabaluyev, who worked in one of the local companies as a deputy regional manager for military nutrition. He was found guilty of giving bribes to the head of the Center for State Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance of the Russian Southern Military District, who demanded 90 thousand rubles ($1,220) monthly for the unimpeded delivery of food supplies.
As stated in the case materials, if the bribe was not given, the sanitary official "promised to block deliveries to Russian servicemen on combat duty in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics."
According to the testimony of the accused, food was delivered to the self-proclaimed republics every two weeks by a convoy of "more than 70 vehicles with a carrying capacity of about 40 tons each and a total volume of more than 1300 tons". Among the products were flour, canned food and fresh vegetables. "The total cost of food per delivery was more than 130 million rubles ($1.76 million)," the verdict says.
According to rough estimates, the supply of 1300 tons of food every two weeks would be enough to for about 26 thousand people. However, it does not follow from the verdict that only one company was engaged in deliveries.
Russia has always denied that its troops take part in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, claiming that Ukrainian troops there are opposed by a "people's militia" consisting of residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Press Secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov once again said that there are no Russian troops in the Ukrainian territory. Commenting on the verdict of the Rostov court, he said that "the appearance of the thesis about the supply of products to Russian servicemen in the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk people's republics is a mistake of the drafters of the text."
"There are no armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of the self-proclaimed republics. They weren’t and they aren’t there. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are on the territory of the Russian Federation," he said.
When asked by journalists whether the presidential administration knew to whom such a volume of food could be supplied, Peskov replied that humanitarian aid is constantly sent to the east of Ukraine.
"These republics are in dire need of this humanitarian assistance. But there can be no talk of any supplies to the military. This is a mistake of those who drafted this document," Peskov said.