Russia charges former Ukrainian officials over 2014 attacks
Russia’s Investigative Committee has announced it is bringing charges in absentia against several former top Ukrainian officials, over their role in military attacks on Donbass in 2014. Their alleged actions led to the death or injury of over a thousand people in the then-breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Russian officials have claimed.
In a statement released on Friday, the Investigative Committee stated that former secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Andrey Parubiy, former Prosecutor General Oleg Makhnitski, and chairman of the State Border Guard Service Nikolay Litvinov had all been charged. In April 2014, the three officials voted in favor of conducting an ‘anti-terrorist’ operation in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which joined Russia after referendums in 2022.
Protests broke out in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions – then part of Ukraine – soon after the Maidan coup in Kiev in February 2014, which overthrew the country’s democratically elected government. Locals in the predominantly Russian-speaking eastern regions expressed concern that the far-right elements that had come to power in the country would discriminate against them. Activists calling for autonomy or secession began seizing administrative buildings and erecting barricades.
In April of that year, several leaders of the movement proclaimed the creation of the Donetsk People’s Republic in parts of the region, with similar events unfolding in neighboring Lugansk Region.
In the following months, Ukrainian forces carried out numerous strikes on the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, killing and maiming more than 1,200 people and damaging over 140 pieces of infrastructure, the statement said. Russian investigators said that “measures are being taken to search for and arrest the suspects.”
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics were incorporated into Russia after referendums last fall along with Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions.