Tuesday, 22 August ‘23

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 22 August ‘23

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 22 August, 2023


Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Suspicions Issued Against Russian Sergeant for Rape

Investigators in the Kherson region reported a suspicion in absentia against Russian junior sergeant Vladik Nebiyev for rape, in violation of the laws and customs of war (Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code).

The 30-year-old, originally from Russia’s Republic of Dagestan, serves in the Russian Guard’s 94th operational regiment. According to the investigation, in July 2022 the suspect repeatedly raped a woman in the Velyka Oleksandrivka community, in Kherson region’s Berislav district, during its occupation.

Threatening to gang rape the woman, he took up residence in her house and abused almost every day until the beginning of August 2022, when the accused left the village.

Berdyansk Seaport’s Director Convicted 

The director of the occupied Berdyansk port in Zaporizhzhia region was sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison with confiscation of property for helping the Russian occupation authorities steal 30 million US dollars worth of grain. The court found him guilty of assisting the aggressor state under Part 1 of Art 111-2 of the criminal code. 

The investigation does not name the convicted, but the port director appointed by the occupation authorities is Volodymyr Stelmachenko, who Ukraine’s security service reported a suspicion in absentia to in August 2022

The convict is the former head of the port’s operational response department and started cooperating with the Russian forces after they took over the port on February 26, 2022. Under his leadership, from June 2022, almost 150,000 tonnes of wheat were transported from the occupied port on the Azov Sea to Russia. He is currently hiding in the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia region. 

Suspicions Issued Against Former Ukraine Lawmaker

Pyotr Symonenko, a former lawmaker and head of the banned Community Party of Ukraine, was issued a suspicion in absentia for publicly calling for violent change or overthrow of the constitutional order or for the seizure of state power, using the mass media, justifying, recognising as legitimate and denying Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine (Part 3 of Article 109 and Part 3 Article 436-2 of the criminal code). The Communist Party of Ukraine was banned in July 2022.

According to Ukraine’s security service (SBU), Symonenko supported Russia’s armed aggression and, during the occupation of the Kyiv region in March 2022,  appealed to Russia’s leadership to be “evacuated”. A special forces unit took the former lawmaker and his family to Belarus. He then moved to the Russian Federation where he began a public campaign in support of the invasion.

The SBU investigation found that in October 2022, Symonenko spoke at the 22nd International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties held in Cuba’s capital Havana, and legitimised the seizure of part of the territory of Ukraine and the activities of the so-called Donetsk and Luhank People’s Republics. 

In April 2023, he attended an “anti-fascist forum” in Minsk, Belarus, where he advocated the continuation of the war against Ukraine and justified Kremlin narratives regarding the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

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