Seven pro-Russian militants detained in Ukraine last week
Since the start of the war in Donbas, Ukrainian law enforcers have laid criminal charges against 1,200 members of the illegal armed forces (IAF). Since the beginning of the year, 74 militants have been indicted, and in the last week, seven more pro-Russian militants voluntarily surrendered.
A press service of the National Police reports: “A total of nine militants have voluntarily surrendered since the start of the year, seven of them during the last week. The majority of them are citizens of Ukraine-controlled territory; two of them moved out of the occupied territories to start a new life. The age range of the IAF former members is between 22-46 years. There is one female among them.”
Additionally, a 24-year old citizen of Russia surrendered to the local police in Bakhmut (in the Donetsk region). In 2014, he stayed illegally in Ukraine and used arms to ‘guard’ a militant-set roadblock near Chasiv Yar. He also patrolled a nearby area controlled by the militants. He hid in his country of origin (Russia), in Crimea and different regions of Ukraine.
A citizen of Ukraine born in Khartsyzsk also surrendered to the local police in Dobropillia (part of the Donetsk region). In 2014, the man joined militant forces and patrolled the streets, as well as engaging in other subversive activity. When he learnt that the militants he stayed with planned to send him to the frontline, he deserted and ran to territory controlled by Ukrainian authorities.
“Sometimes employees of a criminal investigation department have to conduct special operations jointly with the state border guard service in order to help former militants who abandoned illegal armed groups to leave the occupied territory,” the National Police explained. “Such assistance is required because leaders of terrorist groups often try to prevent their former allies from leaving the terrorist ‘army’ and the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ (DPR). For instance, in one case, they burnt all Ukrainian documents of a member of a militant formation called the First Slavyansk Brigade, brought him to their ‘police’, interrogated and threatened him.”
According to Ukrainian Law (section 6, article 260 of the Penal Code of Ukraine), individuals who succumb to Russian propaganda and join illegal armed formations, but did not commit grave crimes and later went to the Ukrainian law enforcement authorities to inform of existing IAFs, are relieved of criminal responsibility.