A few weeks ago Gonzalo Lira put out this video relating to THIS hit piece from the Daily Beast
And he posted this tweet
I have taken the time to look up the names in Gonzalo’s tweet
Volodymyr Oleksiiovych Struk (Ukrainian: Володимир Олексійович Струк; 15 May 1964 – 2 March 2022) was a Ukrainian politician. In March 2022 he was the subject of media coverage internationally due to his kidnapping and death
Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich –leader of the youth wing of the outlawed Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), and his brother, Aleksander Kononovich, were arrested by Ukrainian authorities in Kiev and could reportedly be facing execution.
A Russian-friendly Ukrainian lawmaker has been detained by Ukrainian soldiers after they said he was taking pictures of a military checkpoint in Kyiv, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian invasion since last week.
Ukrainian soldiers of the 206th battalion of the territorial defense of the Ukrainian capital told RFE/RL on March 4 that Shufrych’s three bodyguards were detained as well.
“Shufrych arrived at the checkpoint, stepped out of the car with his three bodyguards, and started taking pictures of the checkpoint, for which he was detained. His bodyguards tried to use firearms to prevent Shufrych’s detention,” one of the soldiers told RFE/RL, adding that all four had been handed over to the police.
Yan Taksyur –
A Ukrainian Orthodox journalist has been held by authorities in Kiev for two weeks now with no access to a lawyer or necessary medical care.
Yan Taksyur, a well-known publicist and host of the First Cossak channel, known for defending the Church against slander and hatred, is suffering from cancer, and his family is worried he won’t live to see his trial.
“Yesterday, Ukrainian Security Service officers with machine guns came to my parents’ apartment, stole almost all the money, and took my father away without bringing any charges… My mother went to the Security Service office today, but they say they don’t know anything about it. We don’t know where my father is, we don’t know what he’s being charged with. His friends are now looking for a lawyer,” Taksyur’s son Ilya told the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
Dmitri Djangirov –
Date: 16 March 2022https://uofa.ru/en/ukrainskii-institut-pravovoi-politiki-i-socialnoi-zashchity/
By Nat South for the Saker Blog
This article provides an overview into a deeply disturbing trend in Ukraine, one that started in 2014, that has accelerated and intensified since 24 February 2022. Extrajudicial killings, harassment, arbitrary detentions by men in camouflaged uniforms, beatings and disappearances continue to take place on a regular basis in Ukraine. Most of the detentions and disappearances are often carried out by the Ukrainian Security service, (SBU), under a sweeping repression.
While we have all heard about the egregious processes that took place in the USA, a witch hunt for suspected communists, better known McCarthyism, a similar course of action is taking place in Ukraine. The Ukrainian authorities and associated ultra-nationalist groups are after people who were not only very critical of the former but also the current Ukrainian government. Threats, harassment and calls for violence has been and continue to be made against those who:
- publicly supported the Minsk Agreements,
- are against “de-communisation”,
- highlight human rights abuses,
- advocated for a settlement of the conflict in Donbass,
- are deemed to be “pro-Russian”.
- Church representatives and clergy;
- For reading the news in Russia.
Add into this maelstrom another layer of extra-judicial repression, in the form of impromptu justice being meted out to civilians, bound up, tied to posts, beaten, humiliated and some killed as a result. There are simply hundreds and hundreds of video clips and photos showing these events, which are outlined in another article.
People are not only being tied up to street furniture as suspected looters, but people are being bound up or arrested for being pro-Russian, for not being able to say the word “Palyanytsya” in Ukrainian. Not every ethnic Russian speaker in Ukraine can speak good Ukrainian, and some have trouble pronouncing certain words in Ukrainian. People have been reportedly killed for not pronouncing the shibboleth word correctly and thus assumed to be part of subversive Russian reconnaissance groups.
The so called” international community” has expressed no interest or desire to take a closer look at this disturbing situation in Ukraine. Once again, the moral high ground as avidly promoted by thousands of NGOs’, think tanks and a multitude of reports, dissipates rapidly in reality into a dark void. The silence is deafening and all of them mute on the repression that is taking place in Ukraine, likely start the process of EU accession in June. Obviously, a highly repressive with systematic serious human rights abuses committed against civilians, by members of the military and police are not an impediment to being part of the European and NATO family.
Once upon a time, there would have been prisoners of conscience that Amnesty International would have supported and denounced human right abuses, now it is a case of total amnesia, right across the board, a deadly silence reigns over the widespread instances of human right abuses and atrocities, unless it is finger pointing at Russia.
For 8 years Ukrainian nationalists have internalised naked hate against Russian speaking Ukrainians and by default judged them to be guilty of being pro-Russian. Within this scope includes being pro-Minsk agreements, advocating for peace in Donbass or highlight human rights abuses. Against this background of feverish witch-hunts, any hint of the slightest suspicion of cooperation or aiding Russians is tantamount to a summary execution in some situations, or more likely, a beating and being handed over to the SBU.
A short list of those who have fell foul of the Ukrainian government and its policies:
Vlodymyr Struk (Major of Kreminna)
Denis Kireev (high-ranking government official)
Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich (political party leaders)
Nestor Shufrych (Verkhovna Rada deputy)
Yuri Tkachev (journalist)
Yan Taksyur (writer)
Elena Berezhnaya (Human rights activist / ex-figure skater)
Dmitry Dzhangirov, (TV presenter, political scientist);
Yuriy Dudkin, (political scientist);
Maxim Rindkovsky (MMA fighter);
Dmitry Skvortsov (journalist);
Aleksandr Matiushenko (activist organisation “Livytsia”);
Oleg Smetanin (violinist);
These individuals and others are listed in further details later on in the article.
Remember these people, these Ukrainians who for various reasons fell afoul of the authorities, imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, or killed. Those detained are often put under huge stress, threatened, beaten, or tortured into giving confessions. Another aspect to consider is that many lawyers do not wish to represent these people, as doing so may lead to being accused of being an accessory and likewise accused of being “agents of the enemy”.
The SBU, human rights abuses and paramilitaires
The SBU has a history of torture, brutal interrogations, extra judicial murders and other violence and threats carried out with total impunity. The Ukrainian government knows this, more so since Zelensky, since he appointed Oleksandr Poklad as the SBU’s counter-intelligence chief in 2021. Poklad has a sinister reputation as the ‘The Strangler’ . He is known to have links to organised crimes and involvement in extrajudicial killings. This person is now a top-level official and just one of a number of decidedly highly unscrupulous characters that are law enforcement officers.
A glimpse of some of the attitudes tolerated within the law enforcement structures, starting with 2018, when an ex-SBU adviser, former deputy in the Rada, member of the far-right nationalist party Svoboda [Freedom], Yuri Michalchyshyn, advocated the following:
“To propagate a total extermination of the Kremlin vultures and ghouls, local traitors and turncoats, its voluntary helpers and accomplices — instead of “reconciliation” with the traitors of the Motherland and the enemies of the Ukrainian people.”
Another paramilitary group, Right Sector also has wide connections with the SBU.
SBU officer, with Right Sector insignia on 6th April. Notice the other insignia, one SS Galicia of WW2 notoriety.
Prior to the start of the Russian military operation against Kiev, a few instances of the brutality, torture and extra judicial killings were reported by a host of organisations, HRW, OSCE, Amnesty International, OHCHR and in France — OFPRA. These reports provided a glimpse into a situation that was overwhelmingly swept under the carpet by EU, U.S. officials and the corporate MSM alike. Most of the cases were connected to the conflict in Donbass, yet there were many instances elsewhere in Ukraine.
“OHCHR documented allegations of enforced disappearances, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, and torture and ill-treatment, perpetrated with impunity by Ukrainian law enforcement officials, mainly by elements of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).”
The June 2016 UN report noted that the cases of incommunicado detention and torture brought to their attention in late 2015 and early 2016 “mostly implicate SBU”
Source: HRW Report 2016
The SBU accounts for a large percentage of reported “arbitrary detention, torture, and abuse of detainees”, from a period from 2014 to 2019. In reality, this is a fraction of what took place, given the one-sided assessment of many of these reports in the first place. Horrid glimpses into these detentions were provided:
Several also alleged that after being transferred to SBU premises they were, variously, beaten, subjected to electric shocks, and threatened with rape, execution, and retaliation against family members, to induce them to confess to involvement with separatism-related criminal activities or to provide information. (HRW 2016)
Notably, during the Donbass conflict, the Ukrainian side committed extremely heinous crimes, such burying people alive, beheadings (as reported by Newsweek), pitiless systematic acts of torture, rapes, looting, on a significantly much larger scale compared to the reported crimes committed by the “pro-Russian side” also featured in these reports. On the flip side, the Russian side has also documented the human rights abuses and repression: report of violations from 2017-2020.
Tellingly, even the U.S State Department managed to notice and picked up on these disturbing aspects of Ukrainian law enforcement behaviours:
“UN noted significant deficiencies in investigations into human rights abuses committed by government security forces …into allegations of torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and other abuses reportedly perpetrated by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).”
Source: U.S. Report
These reports made for grim reading, yet no one in the corporate Western media dare to make references to these, but instead continue to whitewash the hideous crimes committed by Ukrainian law enforcement & military units. The worst cases are carried out by paramilitary and ultra-nationalist units.
“No justice, truth or reparation was attained for any of the victims of enforced disappearance, secret detention and torture of civilians by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) from 2014 to 2016, and not a single suspected perpetrator was prosecuted”
The SBU has a harrowing track record of serious human right abuses, which continues today. Worse still, is the participation of the likes of ‘Azov’, Right Sector and others in the detentions and also disappearances of people. The Neo-Nazi group C-14 leader, Yevhen Yaras openly acknowledged working with the Ukrainian security service, (SBU).
Now, we are being told repeatedly that this is “Russian misinformation” by certain corporate MSM outlets or being told that this is not relevant any longer. As if this was remotely possible to gloss over or make light of absolutely odious human rights abuses. Washington, Brussels are indeed capable of doing, as they shown a long-standing ability to sweep under the carpet, Contras in Nicaragua, death squads in South and Central America, KLA crimes in Kosovo, moderate rebels in Syria and now Ukrainian ultra-nationalists. Mykola Azarov made references to death squads in a video.
These practices and human right abuses still take place on a regular basis in Ukraine. Details of arrests, detentions are always sketchy as legal representation is practically nil and no communication is possible.
In short, under Zelensky’s rule, the government agencies and others armed groups are detaining, imprisoning, and killing people in Ukraine. Anyone that criticises or is considered as opposing his government, any perceived actions, (current or historical) is duly noted, and thus is likely to get persecuted, detained by either the SBU or irregular paramilitary groups. The government knowingly allows these human rights abuses for its own interest.
It must remembered that the Ukrainian authorities have continued to use a database, the Mirotvorets (Peacekeeper) website, to highlight those that they consider as ‘enemies of Ukraine’. This controversial website created in 2014, under the initiative of Anton Gerashchenko, (the Ukrainian deputy minister of internal affairs). Gerashchenko stated that the site was “extremely important for the national security of Ukraine.” He then added that “anyone who does not understand this or tries to interfere with this work is either a puppet in the hands of others or works against the interests of national security.” 
The inclusion of details of individuals, recommended for liquidation and arrest, has in the past led to people, Ukrainian and foreigners, being targeted, arrested, and murdered. A Ukrainian journalist, Oles Buzina, had his personal details published on the site in 2015, which led to his murder shortly afterwards. All of this in a supposedly democratic Ukraine.
Remember that Zelensky has now outlawed all opposition parties —but not all, those parties who support him are allowed to continue, with ultra-nationalists & Neo-Nazis part of these political parties and who happen to be highly influential too. Facebook and other social media platforms also helped in this process by deleting sites and accounts of opposition organisations and individuals.
Top-level officials and media outlets are wilfully ignoring what is taking place in Ukraine, by believing that the Russians are far worse, in scope and extent of human right abuses, while at the same time sanitising a wide range of heinous abuses, disappearances and killings in Ukraine. Additionally, this is swept under the vague categories of ‘treason’, support for the Russians or “saboteurs”:
Case: Vlodymyr Struk
Mayor of Kreminna
Event: kidnapped & extra judicially killed
Date: 01 March 2022
Accused of: being a traitor and pro-Russian
Notes: Anton Gerashchenko, Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, announced on his social media account that the Mayor of Kreminna, Volodymyr Struk, was shot dead by “unknown patriots” after he was kidnapped from his home. He also added that Struk ‘was judged by the court of the people and called hime a traitor.
Case: Denis Kireev
A member of the Ukrainian government negotiating team.
Event: murdered on the street of Kiev, near Pechersky Court building by the SBU security service.
Date: 5 March 2022
Accused of: allegedly for having “pro-Russian position” and ‘ suspicion of treason’.
Notes: gunned down while “resisting arrest”. Reportedly a member of the Ukrainian military intelligence service.
Case: Nestor Shufrych
Verkhovna Rada deputy (Opposition Bloc)
Event: Arrested and kidnapped
Date: 4 March 2022
Accused of: allegedly “providing Russia with intelligence”.
Case: Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich
Leading members of the outlawed Leninist Communist Youth Union of Ukraine.
Event: Arrested and detained by SBU
Date: 6 March 2022
Accused of: “spreading “pro-Russian and pro-Belarusian views.” and ‘treason’.
Notes: Currently held in a pretrial detention centre, been beaten and are facing execution on false charges.
Case: Yan Taksyur
Writer and TV journalist / presenter.
Event: Arrested and detained by the SBU.
Date: 10 March 2022
Accused of: ‘treason’
Ref: 70-year-old native of Kiev, an Orthodox journalist and TV presenter, “Pershiy Kozatsky”. Currently in a pre-trial detention centre.
Case: Yuri Tkachev
Scientist and independent journalist
Editor-in-chief of the online magazine https://timer-odessa.net/.
Event: Arrested and detained in Odessa
Date: 19 March 2022
Accused of: ‘ treason’.
Ref: No contact or information on his current status. Wrote just before his arrest: “They came for me, it was a pleasure to talk”.
Case: Dmitri Dzhangirov
TV presenter, political scientist
Member of the “Novyi Sotcialism” (“New Socialism”) party
Event: detained by the SBU (?)
Date: 7 March 2022
Accused of: ?
Ref: According to social media information, “subscribers denounced that an anti-Russian statement was published on his Youtube channel “The Capital”. He was subsequently forced to make a anti-Russian speech on camera and on his YouTube channel as well.
Case: Elena Berezhnaya
Sportswoman / human rights activist
Event: Detained by the SBU (?)
Date: 16 March 2022
Case: Maxim Rindkovsky
Event: detained, beaten and tortured by ultra-nationalist group
Date: Precise date unknown- 1st week of March 2022
Accused of: having trained with MMA fighters from the Chechen Ahmat club during his sports career.
Ref: Article / Current status is unknown although alleged to have been killed.
Case: Dmitry Skvortsov
Journalist and peace activist of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Event: Detained by the SBU
Date: 10 March 2022
Case: Mikhail Pogrebinsky
Event: Arrested by the SBU
Date: 27 March 2022
Accused of: treason and illegal enrichment.
Ref: Considered to be pro-Russian as he appeared on Russian TV channels.
Case: Vladimir Ivanov
Date: 4th March
Case: Aleksandr Matiushenko
Militant of the Ukrainian left-wing organisation “Livytsia”
Date: 3rd March
Charged with “participation in the aggressive war”.
Ref: Arrested by SBU and ‘Azov’
Case: Oleg Smetanin
Date: 4th March
Accused of: passing information about an airport to the Russians.
Case: Vasily Volga
Former leader of the Union of Left Forces,
Date: 7 March
Case: Yury Dudkin
Date: 7 March
Case: Aleksandr Karevin
Date: 7 March
Ref: wrote on his FB page: “The SBU has arrived”
Case: Oleg Pankartiev
Assistant to a deputy of the opposition party “OPZZH (Opposition Platform for Life)
Date: 9 March
Accused of: ?
Ref: Brutally beaten during arrest and is still detained by SBU.
Case: Spartak Golovachiov
Date: 11 March
Ref: Managed to write on social media : “They are breaking down my door armed with Ukrainian uniforms. Goodbye.” Whereabouts unknown.
Case: Elena Viacheslavova
Human rights activist
Date: 11 March in Odessa
Detained by SBU
Ref: The daughter of Mikhail Viacheslavov, burned alive on 2 May 2014, in the Odessa House of Trade Unions.
Case: Artiom Khazan
Representative of the Shariy Party
Detained by the SBU
Ref: He was severely beaten during his arrest by the SBU,
The next day, a video appeared on social networks, in which Khazan slandered the party chairman Anatoli Shariy. Current whereabouts unknown.
Case: Yury Bobchenko
Chairman of the trade union of Ukrainian steelworkers and miners
Date: 19 March
Arrested by Ukrainian military.
Ref: A worker from the Arcelor Mittal Krivoi Rog company.
Case: Gleb Lyashenko
Political scientist and blogger
Date: 29/30 March
Arrested by SBU (?) and charged with treason.
Case: A German
Ex-journalist — Radio Liberty
Case: Oleg Novikov
Date: 5 April
Arrested by SBU
Ref: Managed to write on Telegram: “They came for me. Don’t think ill of me. Stay yourself”
As you can see from the list, the whereabouts of many are not known, actual accusations against them are not known either. Just an accusation, having your name on a blacklist can get you kidnapped, brutalised, and potentially killed in Ukraine.
Situation in Ukraine
There are still some brave few who try to gather information on the arrests and detentions. The increasing levels of lawlessness and repression makes it very difficult to collect precise information.
Embedded into the already volatile mix of state repression, Ukrainian ultra-nationalists operate outside of any legal oversight, thus not accountable to state political structures. Moreover, many had total impunity since 2014 and despite a couple of incidents between the SBU and Right Sector, they still have undeclared support by all levels of Ukrainian officialdom.
It is only to be expected that ultra-nationalists have taken matters in own their hands, such as the kidnapping, beating and torture of an MMA fighter, Maxim Rindkovsky, solely based on the fact he had trained in the past with a Chechen MMA club. Unverified claims made indicate the participation of Azov members in the torture and disappearance of Maxim Rindkovsky.
Other recent instances of the rule of the
mob, ultra-nationalist, territorial defense enforcers:
13 March, the house of Dmitry Lazarev, a left-wing activist, was burnt down, (in a village near Odessa).
16 March, in the village of Tomashevka in the Kiev region: Guennady Batenko, a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was kidnapped by an armed commando. He was released by the SBU the next day.
27/28 March: Slema, Cherkasy region. A priest is filmed being forcibly taken away by a detachment of “territorial defense” ultra-nationalists (Teroborona), along with parishioners who try to protect him. His whereabouts are not known.
Solely judging by the list as outlined in this article, it is just a little indication of the broader situation where there are hundreds of detainees in Ukraine, their circumstances and status hasn’t warranted the attention to make their disappearance / arrest on social media, their whereabouts are not known at all. As the conflict continues, the repression continues to build up against a wide-ranging category of people.
While this is all happening, the Western authorities and corporate MSM are completely indifferent to the situation and turmoil. The MSM are indeed complicit in whitewashing these abominable events. As expected, the West organisations are all too eager to publicise any crackdown of dissenting voices in Russia. Yet, they have no time or inclination whatsoever to do likewise for those critical of Zelensky’s government, state- repression that is innumerably and unrelentingly cruel, harsher, and significantly deadlier.
The long list of human rights abuses and ill-treatments by the SBU has been amply catalogued in the past, along with the assistance of ultra-nationalist groups, who are tacitly permitted to act indiscriminately against anyone they deem as an “enemy of Ukraine”.
The fate of at least a dozen well-known opposition activists, political analysts, journalists, politicians, and bloggers remains unclear. All this taking place with a cold indifference of well-known Western human right organisations and more strikingly, the Western corporate MSM, all under the auspices of the supposedly ‘enlightened’, ‘civilised’ Europe and North America. No one is raising a voice against these actions.
* 2016 OSCE-report “War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture and inhumane treatment”.
Against the background of rampant corruption, by the end of 2021, Ukraine fell to 122nd place out of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International, 2021).
While claiming to defend democracy, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky has outlawed his opposition, ordered his rivals’ arrest, and presided over the disappearance and assassination of dissidents across the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has framed his country’s war against Russia as a battle for democracy itself. In a carefully choreographed address to US Congress on March 16, Zelensky stated, “Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided. The destiny of our people, whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy.”
US corporate media has responded by showering Zelensky with fawning press, driving a campaign for his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and inspiring a flamboyant musical tribute to himself and the Ukrainian military during the 2022 Grammy awards ceremony on April 3.
Western media has looked the other way, however, as Zelensky and top officials in his administration have sanctioned a campaign of kidnapping, torture, and assassination of local Ukrainian lawmakers accused of collaborating with Russia. Several mayors and other Ukrainian officials have been killed since the outbreak of war, many reportedly by Ukrainian state agents after engaging in de-escalation talks with Russia.
“There is one less traitor in Ukraine,” Internal Affairs Ministry advisor Anton Geraschenko stated in endorsement of the murder of a Ukrainian mayor accused of collaborating with Russia.
Zelensky has further exploited the atmosphere of war to outlaw an array of opposition parties and order the arrest of his leading rivals. His authoritarian decrees have triggered the disappearance, torture and even murder of an array of human rights activists, communist and leftist organizers, journalists and government officials accused of “pro-Russian” sympathies.
The Ukrainian SBU security services has served as the enforcement arm of the officially authorized campaign of repression. With training from the CIA and close coordination with Ukraine’s state-backed neo-Nazi paramilitaries, the SBU has spent the past weeks filling its vast archipelago of torture dungeons with political dissidents.
On the battlefield, meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has engaged in a series of atrocities against captured Russian troops and proudly exhibited its sadistic acts on social media. Here too, the perpetrators of human rights abuses appear to have received approval from the upper echelons of Ukrainian leadership.
While Zelensky spouts bromides about the defense of democracy before worshipful Western audiences, he is using the war as a theater for enacting a blood-drenched purge of political rivals, dissidents and critics.
“The war is being used to kidnap, imprison and even kill opposition members who express themselves critical of the government,” a left-wing activist beaten and persecuted by Ukraine’s security services commented this April. “We must all fear for our freedom and our lives.”
Torture and enforced disappearances “common practices” of Ukraine’s SBU
When a US-backed government seized power in Kiev following the Euromaidan regime change operation of 2013-14, Ukraine’s government embarked on a nationwide purge of political elements deemed pro-Russian or insufficiently nationalistic. The passage of “decommunization” laws by the Ukrainian parliament further eased the persecution of leftist elements and the prosecution of activists for political speech.
The post-Maidan regime has focused its wrath on Ukrainians who have advocated a peace settlement with pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east, those who have documented human rights abuses by the Ukrainian military, and members of communist organizations. Dissident elements have faced the constant threat of ultra-nationalist violence, imprisonment, and even murder.
The Ukrainian security service known as the SBU has served as the main enforcer of the post-Maidan government’s campaign of domestic political repression. Pro-Western monitors including the United Nations Office of the High Commission (UN OHCR) and Human Rights Watch have accused the SBU of systematically torturing political opponents and Ukrainian dissidents with near-total impunity.
The UN OHCR found in 2016 that “arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment of such conflict-related detainees were common practice of SBU… A former Kharkiv SBU officer explained, ‘For the SBU, the law virtually does not exist as everything that is illegal can be either classified or explained by referring to state necessity.”
Yevhen Karas, the founder of the infamous neo-Nazi C14 unit, has detailed the close relationship his gang and other extreme right factions have enjoyed with the SBU. The SBU “informs not only us, but also Azov, the Right Sector, and so on,” Karas boasted in a 2017 interview.
Kiev officially endorses assassinating Ukrainian mayors for negotiating with Russia
Since Russia launched its military operation inside Ukraine, the SBU has hunted down local officials that decided to accept humanitarian supplies from Russia or negotiated with Russian forces to arrange corridors for civilian evacuations.
On March 1, for example, Volodymyr Strok, the mayor of the eastern city of Kreminna in the Ukrainian-controlled side of Lugansk, was kidnapped by men in military uniform, according to his wife, and shot in the heart.
On March 3, pictures of Strok’s visibly tortured body appeared. A day before his murder, Struk had reportedly urged his Ukrainian colleagues to negotiate with pro-Russian officials.
Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, celebrated the mayor’s murder, declaring on his Telegram page (see below): “There is one less traitor in Ukraine. The mayor of Kreminna in Luhansk region, former deputy of Luhansk parliament was found killed.”
According to Geraschenko, Strok had been judged by the “court of the people’s tribunal.”
The Ukrainian official therefore delivered a chilling message to anyone choosing to seek cooperation with Russia: do so and lose your life.
On March 7, the mayor of Gostomel, Yuri Prylipko, was found murdered. Prylipko had reportedly entered into negotiations with the Russian military to organize a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of his city’s residents – a red line for Ukrainian ultra-nationalists who had long been in conflict with the mayor’s office.
Next, on March 24, Gennady Matsegora, the mayor of Kupyansk in northeastern Ukraine, released a video (below) appealing to President Volodymyr Zelensky and his administration for the release of his daughter, who had been held hostage by agents of the Ukrainian SBU intelligence agency.
Then there was the murder of Denis Kireev, a top member of the Ukrainian negotiating team, who was killed in broad daylight in Kiev after the first round of talks with Russia. Kireev was subsequently accused in local Ukrainian media of “treason.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s statement that “there would be consequences for collaborators” indicates that these atrocities have been sanctioned by the highest levels of government.
As of today, eleven mayors from various towns in Ukraine are missing. Western media outlets have been following the Kiev line without exception, claiming that all mayors been arrested by the Russian military. The Russian Ministry of Defense has denied the charge, however, and little evidence exists to corroborate Kiev’s line about the missing mayors.
Zelensky outlaws political opposition, authorizes arrest of rivals and war propaganda blitz
When war erupted with Russia this February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a series of decrees formalizing Kiev’s campaign against political opposition and dissident speech.
In a March 19 executive order, Zelensky invoked martial law to ban 11 opposition parties. The outlawed parties consisted of the entire left-wing, socialist or anti-NATO spectrum in Ukraine. They included the For Life Party, the Left Opposition, the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, the Socialist Party of Ukraine, Union of Left Forces, Socialists, the Party of Shariy, Ours, State, Opposition Bloc and the Volodymyr Saldo Bloc.
Openly fascist and pro-Nazi parties like the Azov National Corps were left untouched by the presidential decree, however.
“The activities of those politicians aimed at division or collusion will not succeed, but will receive a harsh response,” President Zelensky stated.
As he wiped out his opposition, Zelensky ordered an unprecedented domestic propaganda initiative to nationalize all television news broadcasting and combine all channels into a single 24 hour channel called “United News” to “tell the truth about war.”
Next, on April 12, Zelensky announced the arrest of his principal political rival, Viktor Medvedchuk, by Ukraine’s SBU security services.
The founder of the second largest party in Ukraine, the now-illegal Patriots for Life, Medvedchuk is the de facto representative of the country’s ethnic Russian population. Though Patriots for Life is regarded as “pro-Russia,” in part because of his close relations with Vladimir Putin, the new chairman of the party has condemned Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine.
Members of the state-sponsored neo-Nazi Azov Battalion’s National Corps attacked Medvedchuk’s home in March 2019, accusing him of treason and demanding his arrest.
In August 2020, Azov’s National Corps opened fire on a bus carrying representatives of Medvedchuk’s party, wounding several with rubber-coated steel bullets.
Zelensky’s administration escalated the assault on his top opponent in February 2021 when he shuttered several media outlets controlled by Medvedchuk. The US Inept State Department openly endorsed the president’s move, declaring that the United States “supports Ukrainian efforts to counter Russia’s malign influence…”
Three months later, Kiev jailed Medvedchuk and charged him with treason. Zelensky justified locking away his leading rival on the grounds that he needed to “fight against the danger of Russian aggression in the information arena.”
Medvedchuk escaped house arrest at the onset of the war between Russia and Ukraine, but is a captive once again, and may be used as collateral for a post-war prisoner swap with Russia.
Under Zelensky’s watch, “the war is being used to kidnap, imprison and even kill opposition members”
Since Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24, Ukraine’s SBU security service had been on a rampage against any and all iterations of internal political opposition. Leftist Ukrainian activists have faced particularly harsh treatment, including kidnapping and torture.
This March 3 in the city of Dnipro, SBU officers accompanied by Azov ultra-nationalists raided the home of activists with the Livizja (Left) organization, which has organized against social spending cuts and right-wing media propaganda. While one activist said the Azov member “cut my hair off with a knife,” the state security agents proceeded to torture her husband, Alexander Matjuschenko, pressing a gun barrel to his head and forcing him to repeatedly belt out the nationalist salute, “Slava Ukraini!”
“Then they put bags over our heads, tied our hands with tape and took us to the SBU building in a car. There they continued to interrogate us and threatened to cut off our ears,” Matjuschenko’s wife told the leftist German publication Junge Welt.
The Azov members and SBU agents recorded the torture session and published images of Matjuschenko’s bloodied face online.
Perhaps the most ghastly incident of repression took place when neo-Nazis backed by the Ukrainian government kidnapped Maxim Ryndovskiy, a professional MMA fighter, and brutally tortured him for the crime of training with Russian fighters at a gym in Chechnya. Ryndovskiy also happened to be Jewish, with a Star of David tattooed on his leg, and had spoken out on social media against the war in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine’s SBU has even hunted opposition figures outside the country’s borders. As journalist Dan Cohen reported, Anatoly Shariy of the recently banned Party of Shariy said he was the target of a recent SBU assassination attempt. Shariy has been an outspoken opponent of the US-backed Maidan regime, and has been forced to flee into exile after enduring years of harassment from nationalists.
This March, the libertarian politician and online pundit received an email from a friend, “Igor,” seeking to arrange a meeting. He subsequently learned that Igor was held by the SBU at the time and being used to bait Shariy into disclosing his location.
For his part, Shariy has been placed on the notorious Myrotvorets public blacklist of “enemies of the state” founded by Anton Geraschenko – the Ministry of Internal Affairs advisor who endorsed the assassination of Ukrainian lawmakers accused of Russian sympathies. Several journalists and Ukrainian dissidents, including the prominent columnist Oles Buzina, were murdered by state-backed death squads after their names appeared on the list.
Common Ukrainian citizens have also been subjected to torture since the start of the war this February. Seemingly countless videos have appeared on social media showing civilians tied to lamp posts, often with their genitals exposed or their faces painted green. Carried out by Territorial Defense volunteers tasked with enforcing law and order during wartime, these acts of humiliation and torture have targeted everyone from accused Russian sympathizers to Roma people to alleged thieves.
Ukraine’s SBU studies torture and assassination from the CIA
Vassily Prozorov, a former SBU officer who defected to Russia following the Euromaidan coup, detailed the post-Maidan security services’ systemic reliance on torture to crush political opposition and intimidate citizens accused of Russian sympathies.
According to Prozorov, the ex-SBU officer, the Ukrainian security services have been directly advised by the CIA since 2014. “CIA employees have been present in Kiev since 2014. They are residing in clandestine apartments and suburban houses,” he said. “However, they frequently come to the SBU’s central office for holding, for example, specific meetings or plotting secret operations.”
Below, Russia’s RIA Novosti profiled Prozorov and covered his disclosures in a 2019 special.
Journalist Dan Cohen interviewed a Ukrainian businessman named Igor who was arrested by the SBU for his financial ties with Russian companies and detained this March in the security service’s notorious headquarters in downtown Kiev. Igor said he overheard Russian POWs being beaten with pipes by Territorial Defense volunteers being coached by SBU officers. Pummeled to the sound of the Ukrainian national anthem, the Russian prisoners were brutalized until they confessed their hatred for Putin.
Then came Igor’s turn. “They used a lighter to heat up a needle, then put it under my fingernails,” he told Cohen. “The worst was when they put a plastic bag over my head and suffocated me and when they held the muzzle of a Kalashnikov rifle to my head and forced me to answer their questions.”
Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, the first head of the SBU after the Euromaidan regime change operation of 2013-14, nurtured close ties to Washington when he served as general consul to the Ukrainian embassy to the US during the George W. Bush administration. During that time, Nalyvaichenko was recruited by the CIA, according to his predecessor at the SBU, Alexander Yakimenko, who served under the Russian-oriented government of deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.
In 2021, Zelensky appointed one of Ukraine’s most notorious intelligence figures, Oleksander Poklad, to lead SBU’s counterintelligence division. Poklad is nicknamed “The Strangler,” a reference to his reputation for using torture and assorted dirty tricks to set-up his bosses’ political rivals on treason charges.
This April, a vivid illustration of the SBU’s brutality emerged in the form of video (below) showing its agents pummeling a group of men accused of Russian sympathies in the city of Dnipro.
“We will never take Russian soldiers prisoner”: Ukraine’s military flaunts its war crimes
While the Western media has focused squarely on alleged Russian human rights abuses since the outbreak of war, Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Ukrainian social media accounts have proudly exhibited sadistic war crimes, from field executions to the torture of captive soldiers.
This March, a pro-Ukrainian Telegram channel called White Lives Matter released a video of a Ukrainian soldier calling the fiancee of a Russian prisoner of war, seen below, and taunting her with promises to castrate the captive.
Ukrainian soldiers’ use of the cellphones of dead Russian soldiers to mock and hector their relatives appears to be a common practice. In fact, the Ukrainian government has begun using notoriously invasive facial recognition technology from Clearview AI, a US tech company, to identify Russian casualties and taunt their relatives on social media.
This April, a pro-Ukrainian Telegram channel called fckrussia2022 posted a video depicting a Russian soldier with one of his eyes bandaged, suggesting it had been gouged during torture, and mocked him as a “one-eyed” pig.
Perhaps the most gruesome image to have appeared on social media in recent weeks is the photo of a tortured Russian soldier who had one of his eyes gouged before he was killed. The accompanying post was captioned, “looking for Nazis.”
Video has also emerged this April showing Ukrainian soldiers shooting defenseless Russian POWs in the legs outside the city of Kharkov. A separate video published by Ukrainian and US-backed Georgian Legion soldiers showed the fighters carrying out field executions of wounded Russian captives near a village outside Kiev.
It is likely that these soldiers had been emboldened by their superiors’ blessings. Mamula Mamulashvili, the commander of the Georgian Legion, which participated in the field executions of wounded Russian POW’s, boasted this April that his unit freely engages in war crimes: “Yes, we tie their hands and feet sometimes. I speak for the Georgian Legion, we will never take Russian soldiers prisoner. Not a single one of them will be taken prisoner.”
Similarly, Gennadiy Druzenko, the head of the Ukrainian military medical service, stated in an interview with Ukraine 24 that he “issued an order to castrate all Russian men because they were subhuman and worse than cockroaches.”
Ukrainian officials present woman tortured and killed by Azov as victim of Russia
While Western media homes in on Russian human rights violations at home and inside Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has authorized a propaganda campaign known as “Total War” that includes the planting of bogus images and false stories to further implicate Russia.
In one especially cynical example of the strategy, Ukraine 24 – a TV channel where guests have called for the genocidal extermination of Russian children – published a photo this April depicting a female corpse branded with a bloody swastika on her stomach. Ukraine 24 claimed that it found this woman in Gostumel, one of the regions in the Kiev Oblast that the Russians vacated on March 29.
Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian member of parliament, and Oleksiy Arestovych, the top advisor to President Zelensky, published the photo of the defiled female corpse on social media. While Vasylenko left the photo online, Arestovych deleted it eight hours after posting when confronted with the fact that he had published a fake.
In fact, the image was pulled from footage originally recorded by Patrick Lancaster, a Donetsk-based US journalist who had filmed the corpse of a woman tortured and murdered by members of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion in a Mariupol school basement they had converted into a base.
As weapons pour into Ukraine from NATO states and the war intensifies, the atrocities are almost certain to pile up – and with the blessing of leadership in Kiev. As Zelensky proclaimed during a visit to the city of Bucha this April, “if we do not find a civilized way out, you know our people – they will find an uncivilized way out.”
And then there is the war against civilians
As the remaining fighting in Mariupol is concentrated on the final Ukrainian hold-outs holed-up in the Azovstal Plant in the city’s industrial port district, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) and its notorious extremist Azov Battalion fighters appear to have left dozens of murdered civilians behind, including some with their hands bound – indicating an execution, after UAF retreated from their positions embedded among civilians in Mariupol. Resident give testimony as to the war crimes perpetrated by UAF and Azov fighters.
Independent journalist Patrick Lancaster is on the ground, showing some truly shocking scenes in this report from Ukraine. Watch:
See the full uncut video here
This report is by Patrick Lancaster, a US Navy veteran and independent crowd-funded journalist on location in Ukraine. Over the last 8 years of the Ukraine War he has made more video reports in anti-Ukraine Government (Donetsk People’s Republic) controlled territory than any other western journalist. He’s also covered the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict reaching over 8 million aggregate views on his YouTube channel with his reporting on the ground there. “I show what the western media will not show you.”