Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 20 May 2015
(…) The SMM visited the two individuals currently held at the military hospital in Kyiv, who received medical treatment. The SMM spoke to the two individuals without the presence of Ukrainian authorities. The SMM assessed their general condition and gathered their accounts about their capture.
One of them said he had received military education in the Russian Federation. Both individuals claimed that they were members of a unit of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. They claimed that they were on a reconnaissance mission. They were armed but had no orders to attack. Both of them said that they came under fire, got injured and were captured on 16 May 2015 at the contact line near Shchastya. One of them said he had received orders from his military unit to go to Ukraine; he was to “rotate” after three months. Both of them said they had been to Ukraine “on missions” before. One of them stressed repeatedly that there were no Russian troops involved in fighting in Ukraine. Both said they were provided with a Ukrainian lawyer who visited them today. (…)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation: Press release on the arrest of Russian citizens in Ukraine (19.05.2015)
The Ukrainian media reports, quoting the Security Service of Ukraine and the national Defence Ministry, that, on May 17, 2015, Ukrainian forces wounded and captured Russian citizens Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev in the Lugansk Region. Ukrainian authorities claim they are Russian military personnel.
The Russian Defence Ministry has already noted that both men are not active members of the Russian Armed Forces.
The Russian Embassy in Kiev demanded that consular officers be allowed to meet with Russian citizens, now being held in custody, and to provide them with assistance as defined under international law.
SSU gives strong evidence of participation of Russian regular officers in combat actions in Ukraine (22.05.2015)
The SSU officers have established and will provide international authorities with names and military ranks of GRU task force soldiers, who executing criminal orders illegally and with arms crossed the Ukrainian state border and took part in terrorist and subversive acts against civilians and the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
During a briefing the Chief of the State Information Security Department Vitalii Naida and the Advisor to the SSU Head Markiian Lubkivskyi informed journalists regarding names and military ranks of the GRU task force officers, and gave updates on two detained Russian subversives.
The SSU officers clearly established that the captain Yerofieiev and sergeant Aleksandrov, detained on May 18, 2015 during the fighting, are active military men of the 3rd Guards Separate Warsaw–Berlin Red Banner Order of Suvorov 3rd degree Special Purpose Brigade of GRU of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces. According to findings, the officers of this military unit, deployed in Toliatti, made four illegal rotations for commission of subversive tasks in Ukraine.
Vitalii Naida: ‘Criminal proceedings include all the documentary evidence on involvement of the GRU special task forces in shelling Ukrainian populated areas, and other crimes. The SSU will pass all the materials to the relevant international judicial authorities’.
Despite committed crimes, Russian servicemen were given medical and psychological aid, verified by representatives of the OSCE, Red Cross and other human rights organizations. In addition to that, Russian officers had opportunity to contact relatives, which proves that Ukraine and the Security Service stand for humane treatment of enemy prisoners of war.
The SSU investigators instituted a criminal proceeding under Part 3 Article 258 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. ‘The trial against Russian task force officers will be at most transparent and the case will be brought to court. At present, they are detainees, and, as soon as doctors allow, full investigative actions will be conducted. However, the so called exchange of servicemen is not planned,’ – Markiian Lubkivskyi said.