Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard

The Armed Forces of Ukraine in Donbass are being used illegally ― such a conclusion, shocking for “patriots”, was made by experts of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine.

According to Oleg Zhivotov, the lawyer of the former head of the General Staff of the UAF Vladimir Zamana, who is suspected of committing treason and dismantling the Ukrainian army during the period from 2011 to 2013, when he allegedly reduced the number of UAF troops, the results of the examination are contained in the notice of suspicion handed to his client. He stressed that the conclusions of experts of the Prosecutor General’s Office completely confirm the accusations of Russia about the illegality of Ukraine’s use of the army against its own people.

“For the first time in the history of Ukraine, in this case I do not know whom the experts and prosecutors of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine work for. We have this examination, and its name and conclusion were directly rammed into the notice of suspicion handed to Vladimir Mikhaylovich; this phrase is included.

For the first time in the history of Ukraine experts have established that, according to Article 17 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the Armed Forces of Ukraine cannot be used in any conflict inside the country. They are intended only for repelling external aggression,” said Zhivotov during a press conference in Kiev.

“What Russian propaganda repeatedly spoke about – that our Armed Forces are involved in the ATO [anti-terrorist operation] illegally; in Ukraine an examination has established this for the first time in the country’s history. Nobody pays attention to all the remarks made by the defence to the court – that we ourselves document ourselves for the International Court of Justice concerning such crimes,” he complained.

Zhivotov considers that the result of the examination endangers Ukraine. In addition, the conclusions of the examination cannot be cancelled, since they have already been documented.

“There was an examination, it cannot be cancelled, and it is impossible to withdraw it too. I.e., we have an official procedural document in the case which now any enemy can refer to and accuse any serviceman who has been involved in the ATO,” stressed the lawyer. After all, it turns out that everyone who fought in Donbass has violated the Constitution of Ukraine. This threatens any Ukrainian soldier, National Guard soldier, or volunteer.

The Ukrainian soldiers who fought in Donbass can become even more vulnerable during their trips abroad. The National Guard soldier and participant of war Vitaly Markiv [accused of killing the photographer Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian translator Andrey Mironov in Donbass – ed] has been in prison in the city of Pavia in Italy for two years. According to the Italian charges, the National Guard was an illegal armed group, and not a state structure, and Markiv acted not as the serviceman, but as an armed militant.

Such precedents await Ukrainian military personnel in other countries too, and now it is possible to also refer to the conclusions of Ukraine’s own examinations. This will help interested persons prosecute Ukrainian military personnel.

However, the Geneva Convention can come to the rescue of soldiers – after all, they were under the oath and acted in accordance with orders. But Petro Poroshenko, as the Supreme Commander, is not protected by the convention.

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