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Peace in Slovyansk is dubious now, still, it is peace. Part 1

Peace in Slovyansk is dubious now, still, it is peace. Part 1

Slovyansk police department was seized two years ago and soon the town was occupied by militants.

In April 2014, there appeared a lot of patrols consisting of Russian diversionists and local militants in Slovyansk. There were militants and police officers who were now under occupants control. Witnesses of these events, which happened two years ago, say that they had a strong feeling that they were in the theatre of the absurd. However, it was a bloody theatre where people got killed.



Oleh Zontov, editor of Slovyansk informational portal and deputy of the local town council says: “It was absolutely apocalyptic. Before setting off to patrol streets, police officers came to the town police department to get their own guns from militants there. Police arsenals remained in the seized building of Slovyansk police department. Police officers freed the premises for militants and moved to a more modest building of the district police department”.

In the morning of April 12, 2014, local journalists, including Oleh Zontov, (head of Slovyansk Town Organization of Journalists’ Union of Ukraine) were planting an alley in a park planning to honour the memory of Ihor Oleksandrov, their colleague  who was killed in June 2001. Having heard some shots near the police department, the journalists rushed there and witnessed the process of seizing it. It was the moment when they first saw armed “little green men”. Russian diversionist Igor Girkin (call name “Shooter”) was already in the seized building of Slovyansk SSU and coordinated the diversionist group...



*Professional Russian militaries “Bes” ( “Devil”, Igor Bezler) and “Abwer” (Sergiy Zdryliuk) as well as criminals, such as “Babay” took part in seizing Slovyansk Town Council
.

Journalists started recording the events happening around and asking questions. Oleh Zontov did that as well. One of militants who was wearing camouflage gear without insignia (as it turned out later, he was a member of a small diversionist group of GRU officers from Russia which was in charge of the “people’s militia” in the Donbas localities) set a group of local “militants” on Zontov . Oleh was nearly strangled and they nearly took him as hostage, but he was saved by Nelia Shtepa who was the head of Slovyansk Town Council then. She herself was astonished by the real face of the “Russian world” which she supported.

“A lot of people went missing or were captured on the very first days of occupation”, says Oleh Zontov. “According to the police data, 59 people went missing and 134 perished in Slovyansk during the period of occupation. Those events split my life into “before” and “after”. I tried not to go out if I could stay at home.The town was patrolled by separatists and police officers who supported them. They were given call names by the occupants: “Barbeque”, “Spirit”, “Tandyr” (an oriental oven)”.

When militants ordered, local police went to detain people or were on duty near seized administrative buildings, including the Town Council which was run by Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, self-proclaimed mayor.



At the same time, police officers who supported militants continued getting pensions, salaries and wage bonuses from the budget of Ukraine. The fact was proved by the results of the investigation conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This document, which was signed by Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov, was published on Oleh Zontov’s page on a social network and on Slovyansk news portal.

It can be seen from the published conclusions of the investigation that military groups “Taifun”, “Tornado”, “Turtles” and others were formed from Slovyansk police officers. They were on duty together with militants, they guarded separatists’ rallies. At the same time, they got wage bonuses from the budget of Ukraine. According to the data from April 16, 2014, some person got 154 % of wage bonuses, another one got 166 %. Oleksandr Davydenko, head of the police department and Volodymyr Belyanyn, his deputy, assigned double salaries for themselves. Davydenko got seven thousand hryvnyas salary for April and more than thirteen thousand hryvnyas for June.

A part  of militants took part in detaining people illegally. The conclusions made by the Ministry of Internal Affairs say that “workers of Slovyansk pre-detention centre collaborated with militants and organized a structure responsible for punishing arrested people”. Information about premises of the pre-detention centre and about arrested ones was put down in a special register and was reported to Hleb Sydych who was “the commandant” of occupied Slovyansk with a call name “Attorney” and to Serhiy Zdrylyuk (call name “Abwer”), “deputy head of “DPR Ministry of Defense”. These traitors made decisions about interrogations which were accompanied by tortures and then about punishment. If the person was not executed, he or she got into “penal battalion” and did “community service” like digging trenches, cleaning the territory and even took part in battles. People were forced to do this by armed “guards”.

Te results of this investigation were reported to the Prosecutor General’s Office but so far there has not been any information about punishing any member of Slovyansk police for betrayal.

“Some police officers ran away to the annexed Crimea and Russia. The majority of them did not return to the town. Some of them left Slovyansk after it had been liberated. On the other hand, I know some police officers who fled the town not to collaborate with occupants, but were fired for absenteeism after they returned”, says Oleh Zontov.

Vira Zhychko, “Facty” (Donetsk)

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