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MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into the abduction of Russian nationals in southeast Ukraine for the purpose of their subsequent exchange, the committee said on Tuesday.
As the Investigative Committee told TASS, "according to the investigation’s data, unidentified persons from among the top leadership of the Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies have been using their powers and administrative functions since the start of combat operations in southeast Ukraine, that is, since April 2014, to create a criminal network and commit especially grave crimes - abductions and the subsequent human trafficking."
"Citizens of the Russian Federation have become the subjects of criminal encroachments by the members of the crime network. The general principle of committing crimes consisted in their illegal criminal prosecution and suspended sentences and then their abduction and illegal detention for the purpose of exchanging them for Ukrainian servicemen captured by representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics," Russia’s Investigative Committee said.
"Thus, a Russian citizen who was staying in Ukraine was detained on a far-fetched ground on suspicion of encroaching on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine. Under the impact of threats and coercions, he made confessionary statements and concluded a deal with the prosecutor on admitting his guilt and then the court released him from punishment, giving him a probation period. After that, the members of the crime network forcibly brought him into another region of Ukraine where they have been holding him illegally in a closed-type accommodation controlled by them," the Russian Investigative Committee reported.
A similar case occurred with a Russian citizen in 2014 on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces, the committee said.
"He was also detained on a far-fetched ground, allegedly on suspicion of illegal transfer of people across the state border of Ukraine and then slapped with a suspended sentence. On the same day, the Russian citizen was forcibly captured by representatives of the crime network and placed into one of the so-called secret prisons where he was kept until the exchange for Ukrainian servicemen taken prisoner by representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics," the Russian Investigative Committee said.
At present, the Russian investigators are identifying all the circumstances of these crimes and all the persons who suffered from the criminal activity of the members of the said crime network.