Case for the murder of Volodymyr Vakulenko and three more civilians submitted to court
The Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor's Office has submitted an indictment against two Russian soldiers suspected of murdering the Ukrainian children's writer Volodymyr Vakulenko and three other people during the occupation of Kharkiv oblast to the court.
This was announced by the Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor's Office on Facebook.
The indictment was submitted regarding the violation of the laws and customs of war (Part 2 of Article 27, Part 1, Part 2 of Article 28, Part 1, Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). Now the accused persons are wanted. They will be tried in absentia in the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Kharkiv. The occupiers face life imprisonment.
According to the investigation, both men were born in Luhansk. They serve in the Company No.4, Battalion No.4, rifle regiment No. 204 of the mobilization reserve of the so-called "LPR", Second Army Corps of the Combined Arms Army No. 8 of the Southern Military District of the AFRF. These are the company's commander (call sign Lion) and his subordinate, a machine gunner nicknamed Hoopoe.
According to the police, in 2022, the suspects were in then-occupied Kapitolivka, Izyum district, and learned that Volodymyr Vakulenko, who opposed Russia's actions, lived there.
On March 22, 2022, the invaders came to the writer's house armed and "searched" it. After that, they detained the writer and his 14 year old son. The soldiers took them to their HQ and tried to persuade the writer to work with the occupation authorities.
"Being faced with refusal, they forced the man to take off his clothes to reveal the Ukrainian symbols tattooed on his body. After hearing another refusal, the Russian invaders drove the writer and his son back," the police notes.
However, on March 24, the occupiers came again, this time only "detaining" the author. After that, company commander Lion ordered his subordinate machine gunner to shoot the man. Hoopoe shot the man with a Makarov's pistol, killing Volodymyr Vakulenko on the spot.
The investigation also suspects the men of murdering three more civilians. These are a former ATO fighter and two other men. They were kept in a cellar in unsanitary conditions, with no light, and were repeatedly beaten with sticks all over their bodies.
According to the investigation, after torturing the victims, the occupiers took all three of them to a forest in Kapitolivka. The company commander ordered Hoopoe to shoot them. The examinations showed that two victims were shot from a Makarov's pistol and the third one was beaten to death.
The police also found evidence another instance of brutal mistreatment of civilians by the suspects. They forced a hryvnia bill into the mouth of one of the "detainees", saying that if the man removed it from his mouth, they would shoot him. However, having held the civilian in inhumane conditions in the cellar, they did release him.
The investigation also found that Lion and Hoopoe committed all the crimes as part of a group with other Russian soldiers; the police are doing all in their power to prosecute every occipier complicit in war crimes.
As the IMI reported, Volodymyr Vakulenko was born and lived in Kapitolivka village (near Izyum, Kharkiv oblast) with his son. Shortly after Kharkiv oblast was occupied, the Russian military took him away from his home, and his family never saw him again. After the de-occupation of Kharkiv oblast, his body was discovered in a mass grave in Izyum.
In November 2023, the police identified two Russian soldiers involved in the shooting of Ukrainian children's writer Volodymyr Vakulenko and the murder of three more people during the occupation of Kharkiv oblast.
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