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War and justice

“No one was running away.” Former head of Kharkiv Security Service says he is suing SBI, SSU, and the Prosecutor General’s Office

Roman Dudin, the former head of the Kharkiv Security Service, is accused of high treason — allegedly because of him, the local Security Service failed to act properly at the beginning of the Russian invasion. One of the reasons is that Dudin allegedly left his place of service without permission and fled Kharkiv. He is now suing the SBI, the SSU, and the Prosecutor General’s Office for disseminating this information. On August 21, the Shevchenkivskyi District Court of Kyiv failed to hold the first hearing on the case’s merits. The prosecutor was supposed to announce the indictment, and the court was supposed to decide on the procedure for considering the case and examining the evidence. Instead, the panel’s presiding judge, Volodymyr Buhil, recused himself because his security clearance had expired three days before the hearing.

After the meeting, Dudin told reporters that on August 18, he had filed five civil lawsuits for 380 million hryvnias against law enforcement agencies.

— 100 million for each service — the State Bureau of Investigation, the Prosecutor General’s Office, and the SSU. And 40 million each against a group of prosecutors and investigators. At their press conferences, they said that on the 24th of February, I ran away to my mother in Volyn. Everyone understands that no one fled anywhere. I was in Kyiv. I received an order from the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (Ivan Bakanov at the time — MIHR) to move to Kyiv with the Alpha group. As a soldier, I fulfilled this order,” Dudin said.

Roman Dudin in the courtroom. Photo: MIHR

He claims that on February 25, he received an order and left from Kharkiv to Kyiv, where he took up positions at 33 Volodymyrska Street and spent two days clearing the government quarter and detaining suspicious people. He says the main task was to hold the government buildings: The Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers, Bankova Street, where the President’s Office, the Interior Ministry, and the Security Service of Ukraine are located: “If the government buildings are not captured, the country is not considered defeated.” Dudin claims that he then returned to Kharkiv with a group of special forces and weapons.

According to the investigation, Dudin was aware of the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, but acted to the detriment of the state’s defense and security. He allegedly did not doubt Russia’s offensive’s success and counted on the occupiers’ good attitude. He organized attempts to seize power in the region, remove the head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, and discredited the authorities through false information to the media. Also, under his leadership, the Kharkiv Security Service allegedly failed to fulfill its tasks, while Dudin ordered his subordinates to leave Kharkiv and leave the place of service himself.

Last year, on May 29, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fired Dudin because he “did not work to protect the city from the first days of the full-scale war, but thought only about himself.”

Roman Dudin’s group of lawyers. Their client is behind them. Photo: MIHR

Dudin has been in pre-trial detention for almost a year. He pleads not guilty and claims that he has documents that refute entirely the prosecution’s case. He is “probably the only one who did something to prevent the Kharkiv region from being surrendered.”

In July 2023, the prosecutor’s office sent an indictment to court. Because the courts of Kharkiv and the region do not have a special permit for activities related to state secrets, Dudin’s case was transferred to Kyiv. After Judge Bugil’s recusal, a new panel of the Shevchenkivsky District Court will be formed to consider the case and determine whether the hearings will be closed.

Yuriy Glotov, one of the defendant’s lawyers, says that the defense will insist on an open hearing of the case and will only hold closed hearings of the parts containing state secrets — one volume of the case is marked “Top Secret.”

If Dudin’s guilt is proven, he faces 15 years or life in prison.

Iryna Domashchenko, MIHR journalist 


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