15 September 2020
Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova announces three criminal proceedings in the case involving Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) members.
“We have three criminal proceedings against the Wagner members,” Venediktova said at a plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada on Sept. 15.
According to her, the first of these criminal proceedings was opened immediately after information appeared in media.
“The SBI reacted immediately and the investigation continues,” said Venediktova.
As reported, on July 29, 33 members of the Wagner PMC were detained near Minsk.
On August 12, the Office of the Prosecutor General (Ukraine) applied to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Belarus with requests to extradite 28 members of Russian private military company “Wagner”.” All 28 persons, including nine citizens of Ukraine, were informed about suspicion of participation in a terrorist organization (part 1 of Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine), reported the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
The Ukrainian side stated that these persons “took an active part in hostilities in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as part of Russia-occupation forces under the “Luhansk People’s Republic” and “Donetsk People’s Republic, “LPR ” and “DPR,” respectively.
Belarus on August 14 handed over 32 of 33 detained Wagner PMC fighters to Russia.
On August 18, Ukrainian media outlets reported that Security Service of Ukraine and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry were preparing an operation to detain members of Wagner PMC. According to the media, they were supposed to fly from Minsk to Istanbul. According to the plan, one of the passengers would fake sickness during the flight forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Kyiv, where the Wagner PMC fighters were to be detained.
The media claimed that the operation was reported to President Volodymyr Zelensky and President’s Office Head Andriy Yermak. Belarusian secret services learned of the operation after the information was leaked.
The information was denied by the authorities. So, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov said that the trip of the Wagner PMC militants, during which they were detained in Belarus, was a special operation of the Russian special services. The head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak interpreted the information about the alleged involvement of the Ukrainian special services in the appearance and detention of Russian militants in Belarus as a deliberate misinformation. The Security Service of Ukraine also denied their involvement in the story with the appearance and detention of “Wagner members” in Belarus.
On September 4, the European Solidarity faction demanded the creation of an interim commission of inquiry to investigate the facts of involvement of top Ukrainian officials in extradition of the Wagner members from Belarus to Russia.
On September 12, the Security Service of Ukraine started criminal proceedings on a possible leak of information about the operation to detain members of the Wagner PMC.