Tuesday, 9 January ‘24

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

Tuesday, 9 January ‘24

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

Tuesday, 9 January, 2024


Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Head of So-Called DPR Sentenced in Absentia to 15 Years

Denis Pushilin, leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) was sentenced in absentia to 15 years for encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine and collaborative activities. 

On December 27, 2023, the Dzerzhynsky city court in Donetsk region found him guilty under Part 2 of Article 110, Part 2 of Article 28 and Part 5 of Article 111-1 of the criminal code. 

According to the investigation, the 42-year-old, who has led the de facto region since 2018, acts on Moscow's instructions regarding the armed aggression of the Russian Federation and the implementation of the Kremlin regime in Ukraine’s occupied territories, ensuring the transfer of troops to the eastern front. He is also accused of organising the illegal referendum of September 2022 concerning the annexation of the occupied areas of the Donetsk region to Russia. He has one month to appeal the verdict.

Pushilin has been on the US sanction list since June 2014 and has since been added to sanction lists of Australia, Canada, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 

Moscow Patriarchate’s Metropolitan in Luhansk Issued Suspicion

The regional office of Ukraine’s Security Service informed in absentia the head of the Moscow Patriachate in Luhansk Diocese, Vasyl Povorozniuk, of the suspicion of aiding Russia as the aggressor state against Ukraine under Part 1 of Article 111-2 of the criminal code.

The 50-year-old Ukrainian citizen is the Metropolitan of the Luhansk and Alchevsk Diocese of Ukraine Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate under the spiritual name of Panteleimon and has been on i Ukraine’s sanction list since 2022.

According to the investigation, on September 30, 2022, Povorozniuk attended a meeting in Moscow, where illegal "agreements'' were signed on the accession of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson regions of Ukraine to Russia, thereby supporting the illegal annexation of the occupied territories to the Russian Federation.

Accomplices Named in Murder Case

The Security Service in the Kharkiv region reported in absentia the suspicion of violating the laws and customs of war to Alexey Gorbunov, 39, and Ruslan Goncharov, 38. The two Russian military officers are suspected of looting under Part 2 of Article 28 and Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code.

According to the investigation, in the spring of 2022, the two suspects participated in the occupation of the Kupyansk and Izyum districts in the Kharkiv region. They robbed civilian houses and stole cars together with 36-year-old Russian soldier Vitaly Piddubny, who is suspected of murdering a local farmer. Investigators believe that the two suspects helped to hide the crime and dismembered the body of the farmer and then burned it.

Piddubny was informed of the suspicion of murder in absentia in January 2023. Investigators have updated the charges, adding robbery of civilians and committing a crime by prior conspiracy by a group of persons under Part 1 of Art. 438 and Part 2 of Art. 28 of the criminal code.

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