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24 Aug, 2009 14:12

Ukrainian army supported Georgian attack on South Ossetia

While investigating the genocide and mass killings of Russian citizens in South Ossetia in August 2008, it has appeared that the Ukraine was participating in the massacre, Russia’s Investigative Committee says.

The Investigative Committee of the General Prosecutor’s Office says irrefutable proof has been uncovered. It states that full-time servicemen of the Ukrainian army and some 200 members of the Ukrainian nationalist organization UNA-UNSO (“Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self-Defense”) were participating in the August 2008 armed conflict in South Ossetia, siding with Georgia.

“Among the UNA-UNSO members who took part in Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia were people with the surnames Shapoval, Kucherenko, Shevchenko, Matvsyuk and Zheltokon,” added Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee.

According to Vladimir Markin, investigators found battle uniforms, personal belongings, photos and other documents belonging to militants from UNA-UNSO in a police building in the village of Ochabeti – a Georgian enclave near Tskhinval. Georgian police orders intended to supply members of the organization with vehicles, were also found.

Moreover, during Russia’s peace-compelling operation in South Ossetia BUK-M and OSA-AKA air defense systems with Ukrainian marking were found, he added.

According to the data obtained by investigators, the air defense systems in question underwent scheduled maintenance at Ukrainian defense plants in May 2008 – two months before South Ossetia was attacked.

“To clarify all the circumstances, a request for legal assistance was filed to the competent Ukrainian authorities, and it’s Ukraine’s fault that the answer has not yet been received,” Markin said.

Earlier a parliamentary investigation committee in Ukraine found that the country supplied weapons to Georgia prior to Tbilisi's attack on South Ossetia. The probe was initiated after reports emerged that Ukraine delivered arms to Georgia before the invasion.

Meanwhile, President of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, has said on Monday that the evidence over the participation of Ukrainian mercenaries in the conflict was obtained as early as August 2008.

“After seizing Georgian bases, and in particular a district office of Georgia’s Ministry for State Security, we’ve got that evidence. We’ve found notebooks and other documents containing surnames of the UNA-UNSO members who took part in Georgia’s military aggression against South Ossetia,” Kokoity said.

The South Ossetian President concluded that all the evidence was handed over to the Investigative Committee of the General Prosecutor's Office of Russia.

Commenting on the issue, UNA-UNSO deputy head Nikolay Karpyuk is quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that members of the organization didn’t take part in August 2008 events in the Caucasus “unfortunately”.

Following the Russian Investigative Committee’s announcement, Ukraine has denied allegations that its servicemen participated in Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia.

"This is propaganda," a spokesman for Ukraine's General Staff, Sergey Kuzmin, was quoted as saying by BBC’s Russian service. “Our military units were not there.”

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