Russian official accuses Ukraine of “mass killings”, defends “genocide” probe

Vladimir Markin file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, October 1, 2014) Russian Investigations Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin has rejected allegations that the committee has exceeded its authority and interfered in Ukraine’s internal affairs by launching a criminal case into the genocide of Russian-speaking citizens in Donbass [area in and around Donetsk Region].

“Specially for those questioning the legality of the Investigations Committee’s investigation: I want to disappoint all of those trying to accuse us of interfering in the affairs of a sovereign republic. We get all our information about crimes and all our evidence from eyewitnesses to these crimes, specifically from refugees who have left the areas affected by the fighting en masse and found safe haven in Russia. As we said before, there are more than 300,000 such people,” Markin said.

“So, more than 60,000 of them have been interviewed as part of the criminal process, which itself is unprecedented and has no analogues in Soviet or post-Soviet times. Of those 60,000 people, more than 12,000 have been recognized as victims,” Markin said.

He said that “apart from eyewitness statements, many victims presented the Russian Investigations Committee with evidence in the form of samples of soil and genetic material, with these samples being used to conduct thorough tests, which have corroborated statements by eyewitnesses and victims”.

“And now I have a question for Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General’s Office: What was and is stopping them, instead of making hysterical statements about the alleged ‘interference’ in the affairs of a sovereign republic, conducting their own investigation into the mass killings of the civilian population and trying to defend the totally innocent population of Donbass?” Markin said.

He said that “the Investigations Committee, for its part, would not disregard any such statement from refugees, and nor do we intend to turn a blind eye to the actions of gunmen from Ukraine’s Armed Forces, National Guard and Right Sector aimed at killing peaceful civilians”.

“At the same time, I wish to note again that the actions of the Russian Investigations Committee are in line not just with the requirements of Russian legislation, but also with international law,” the committee spokesman stressed.

“Today we are aware of the names of many commanders of military units and gunmen from Right Sector and the National Guard carrying out criminal orders issued by Ukraine’s military and political leadership. The names of these leaders have been known for a long time. All of them – those who ordered this and those who carried it out – will sooner or later have to answer not just before the law, but also before their own conscience,” the Investigations Committee spokesman said.

[In a separate report, Interfax carried further remarks by Markin, who spoke of “incontrovertible evidence” that people recently found in “mass graves” in Donetsk Region had been killed by “gunmen from the National Guard and Right Sector”. He also said that “no fewer than eight” civilians had been killed in Donetsk on 1 October “merely because they spoke in Russian and did not wish to get involved in nationalist hysteria and allow fascist ideology into their land”. They join “the already horrific list of the Donetsk Region morgue, through which the bodies of 1,374 people killed in this slaughterhouse have passed so far”, Markin said, adding that “more than 200 of the victims are women and children”. (Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1455 gmt 1 Oct 14)]

[featured image is file photo]