Punishment for helping Russia and conviction of a Russian military servant: verdicts in war-related cases emerged in July
The monitoring of war-related court cases conducted by the MIHR reveals a trend towards a decrease in the number of sentences under Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ― violations of the laws and customs of war. In July, only one such sentence appeared in the register of court decisions. However, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office, over 100,000 crimes have already been recorded under this article, with investigations underway. Therefore, the number of sentences is expected to increase. Cases of high treason and collaboration are actively being adjudicated. According to the publicly disclosed verdicts, Dnipro, Kharkiv, and Odesa account for the majority of such cases.
A torturing in Vyshneve
Ondar Anchy was sentenced in absentia to 12 years of imprisonment for committing a war crime. Born in Tyva, he is a serviceman of the 35th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade of the Russian Federation. The sentence was rendered by the Ripky District Court of Chernihiv Region on 17 July 2023.
According to the case materials, on 28 February 2022 the Russian military broke into the yard of Dmytro Terebil in the village of Vyshneve. Marksman Ondar Anchy was among the intruders. He kicked and punched the householder with the rifle knob, demanded information about positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and threatened that otherwise he would shoot him. He then forced Dmytro Terebil and his mother into a car and ordered to drive to a sawmill seized by the occupiers. They were held there until evening and were constantly threatened to be shot unless they provide information about the Ukrainian military. They were let go the same day but their car was confiscated.
On 3 March 2022 Dmytro Terebil encountered Ondar Anchy for the second time. Dmytro came to lock up his grocery store to save it from looting. There were Russian soldiers. They detained Dmytro Terebil and once again took him to the sawmill, where they tortured him for six hours.
Dmytro Terebil said in court that his clothes and shoes were taken off, and that he was punched with sticks and rifle knobs, especially his heels and fingers, and beaten by hands and feet. When he was losing consciousness, water was poured on him and he was left alone for a while, and then the beating would resume. Due to the cold, Dmytro lost sensation in his hands and became disoriented about what was going on. The Russian military servicemen constantly threatened to kill him and his mother. He remembered a soldier of Asian appearance among them, and later identified him in a photo as Ondar Anchy.
The victim’s mother recounted how the Russian military claimed that her house served as headquarters for Ukrainian soldiers and demanded details of the ATO participants. The Russians were aware that she had once chaired the village council, and that then she was head of the community. She managed to hide the documents of the ATO participants.
Another local resident, acting as a witness, confirmed that the Russian military personnel detained people at the sawmill. He saw Dmytro Terebil there, who had marks of torture.
The court found Ondar Anchy guilty of the cruel treatment of civilians, which constitutes a violation of the laws and customs of war under Part 1, Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. He will serve his sentence after apprehension. According to the website of the judiciary, an appeal was submitted on 10 August 2023.
A spy in Odesa
Oleksiy Nikitin from Odessa received a maximum sentence for high treason — 15 years of imprisonment with the confiscation of property.
Oleksiy Nikitin was born in the Chyta region of the Russian Federation and resided in Odesa. He was a former employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The investigation has revealed that he repeatedly traveled to Russia and the annexed Crimea. It was there where he was recruited by Russian intelligence operatives in July 2021. He agreed to provide them with information about the Ukrainian military.
Between July and December 2021, Oleksliy Nikitin sent information about international military exercises in the Black Sea, the number of foreign military personnel, ammunition, and movement of dual-use goods in the Ukrainian seaports via the Telegram application. In addition, he provided insights on the country’s political situation.
In one of his messages of December 2021, he wrote in Russian as follows:
“In the first days of December, military recruiting stations received an order for complete mobilization of reserve officers. Each station was ordered to mobilize 20-30 people… For your information, our American comrades have already arrived at the Shyrokyi Lan Training Dacility. It is my conclusion that they conscript officers with technical education rather than regular officers. And that is what they have been ordered. The training will involve new American weapon, such as Javelin, etc. I think they will also test new targeting systems. The tank firing range is large. The reserve officer procurement should be completed by the 20th of December. I will provide information about the quality and quantity of those conscripted after the 20th of December. The most important issue, in my opinion, is the construction of a military base in the Ochakov port. I’m trying to get closer.”
The Operational Command of the Ukrainian Ground Forces and one of the military units confirmed that transmission of this classified information threatened the national defense capability.
In court, a witness familiar with Oleksiy Nikitin confirmed that the latter had traveled to Russia several times purportedly for medical treatment and inheritance matters.
The prosecution requested a 13-year prison sentence for the accused. Oleksiy Nikitin did not admit the guilt and refused to testify. On 17 July 2023 Prymorsk District Court of Odesa found Oleksiy Nikitin guilty of high treason under Part 1, Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, and sustained a maximum sentence. There is currently no information in the Register of Court Decisions or on the website of the Judiciary as to whether an appeal has been filed within a 30-day term. Therefore, the verdict likely came into effect.
An FSB assistant from Ukroboronprom
Serhiy P. from Kharkiv worked as an assembler at one of the Ukroboronprom’s enterprises. He provided information about the Armed Forces of Ukraine to the Russian special services. On 19 July 2023, the Kyiv District Court of Kharkiv sentenced him to imprisonment for eight years.
The investigation has revealed that in March 2022 Serhiy received a phone call from an FSB officer who inquired about the positioning of Ukrainian defense forces. He disclosed the streets where he had seen weapons and equipment. Later, Serhiy told about this to his friend at the Energoatom – a relevant recording is included in the investigation.
He also phoned and told about this to his another acquaintance, and inquired whether she knew about the shelling near the Turboatom plant. During the conversation, he justified Russia’s actions and supported the occupation.
Expert analyses confirmed that the recordings indeed featured Serhiy’s voice. A person whom he talked to confirmed, as a witness, that so it had been. The sister of the accused informed the court that her brother had a drinking problem and a head injury, which make him disoriented. Serhiy did not admit the guilt.
The court found Serhiy P. guilty of justifying the Russian aggression and of the unauthorized dissemination of information about deployment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces under Part 1, Article 436-2 and Part 2, Article 114-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine respectively. Serhiy P. was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment. According to the website of the judiciary, an appeal in the case was filed on the 16 August 2023.
Anastasia Zubova, MIHR journalist