Rifle Commander to be Tried for Sexual Violence

Wanted man believed to be in territory of Luhansk oblast, where he is serving with militia forces.

Rifle Commander to be Tried for Sexual Violence

Wanted man believed to be in territory of Luhansk oblast, where he is serving with militia forces.

Andriy Bublev, a commander of the rifle regiment of the so-called Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) forces has been charged with attempted rape during the occupation of the Kharkiv region last summer.
Andriy Bublev, a commander of the rifle regiment of the so-called Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) forces has been charged with attempted rape during the occupation of the Kharkiv region last summer. © SBU
Tuesday, 28 November, 2023

A 35-year-old commander of the rifle regiment of the so-called Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) forces has been charged with attempted rape during the occupation of the Kharkiv region last summer.

Andriy Bublev is a native of Baku, in Azerbaijan, and serves with the 202nd rifle regiment of the mobilisation reserve of the 2nd Army Corps of the LPR. He has Ukrainian citizenship and is registered in the city of Voznesenivka, Luhansk region, which was occupied by Russian troops in 2014.

The court documents stated that the Russian military and representatives of the illegal armed formations of the LPR and Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) controlled the territory of the Savynska community of the Izyum district in the Kharkiv region from March 8 to September 9, 2022. 

The area was occupied by Bublev’s regiment, which stationed military equipment in local villages, appropriated private property, intimidated residents and conducted raids on their homes.

According to the investigation, on the evening of August 22 last year, Bublev - whose call sign is Bublik - stopped a VAZ 2109 civilian car in the centre of the community, near a village council.  He was armed with a machine gun and accused the passengers, a married couple, of breaking curfew.

The man, named as A, and the woman, identified as E, responded that curfew had not yet started.

Bublev then offered to sell the couple fuel, which was at that time very difficult to obtain as Ukrainian gas stations had been looted and shut down. The couple agreed, and half-an-hour later arrived at the place where Bublev was stationed, bought the petrol, and wanted to leave.

According to the investigation, the accused refused to let them go, pointed his machine gun at the couple and threatened them with violence. 

A short time later, two of his comrades from the LPR - whose identities were not established during the pre-trial investigation - arrived on the scene. According to the indictment, the soldiers agreed to commit violence against the man and rape the woman. 

With threats, they forced A to approach the entrance to the basement, where Bublev hit him on the head with the butt of his machine gun. The victim lost consciousness and fell into the cellar. Bublev closed the door.

Then the accused ordered the woman to enter the house. According to the investigation, she tried to escape, running towards the entrance gate and hiding behind the car. When the accused found her, he grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the house, ordering her to undress and lie down on a couch. In response to the woman’s pleas to leave her alone, the soldier became angry and refused, threatening to shoot her husband.

Bublev then sexually assaulted E, although for reasons beyond his control he did not rape her. The accused threatened the woman with violence if she told anyone about the assault against her.

In June this year, Kharkiv investigators notified Bublev in absentia of suspicion under part 2 of Art. 28, Part 1 of Art. 438 of the criminal code of Ukraine (violation of the laws and customs of war, committed by a group of persons according to a prior conspiracy). In July, the Kyiv district court of Kharkiv gave permission for a special pre-trial investigation in absentia.

Bublev faces from eight to 12 years of imprisonment if found guilty.

During the pre-trial investigation, investigators established that Bublev was in a part of the territory of the Luhansk oblast of Ukraine that is occupied by Russia. He remains wanted.

The Balakliya district court of the Kharkiv region is summoning him to a preliminary hearing. Due to the nature of the alleged crime, it is likely that the court will be closed to the public. The victims’ identity and the locality where the events took place was also not made public.

In June of this year, after the announcement of the suspicion, Ukrainian journalists from "Slidstvo.Info" identified Bublev via the Russian social network Odnoklasnyki. His photos and personal information have since been deleted from Odnoklasnyki.

The preparatory meeting in the case is scheduled for January 24, 2024.

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