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MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case over kidnappings of Russian citizens by Ukrainian forces, IC spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko told TASS.
The IC’s department for the investigation of crimes involving the use of banned means and methods of warfare has gathered more evidence concerning the kidnappings of Russians in 2014 and 2015 for their subsequent groundless indictment on criminal charges, she said.
The case was opened under three articles of the Russian Criminal Code - organization of and participation in a criminal group, kidnapping and human trafficking.
In December 2014 Ukrainian special services kidnapped a 36-year-old Russian citizen at a roadblock near the village of Krasny Partizan, the Donetsk Region. The man was in no way involved in the conflict in the southeast of Ukraine. He had arrived in the area as a volunteer to help restore industrial production in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. First, he was illegally kept at different sites in Novogradovka, Volnovakha and Mariupol. Eventually he was brought to an office of the Ukrainian security service SBU in the Donetsk Region, arrested on trumped-up charges of creating a terrorist group, convicted and jailed. His release followed two years later.
In a separate incident in April 2015 a group of gunmen kidnapped a group of volunteers from a Russian fund for aid to refugees, compatriots and Russian speakers near the village of Yelenovka, the Donetsk Region. Some of the captured Russians were delivering a humanitarian cargo from Lugansk to the Donetsk Region. The Russians were arrested on the suspicion of creating a terrorist group. They were eventually exchanged for Ukrainian soldiers seized by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics.