Ukrainian special services (SBU) conducted an operation on the territory of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR) and on June 27 detained former head of the air defense service in Snizhne, Volodymyr Tsemakh. Later, the detainee was taken to the territory controlled by Ukraine and arrested. It is noted that Tsemakh might have information about the MH17 tragedy in Donbas in July 2014.
Who is Volodymyr Tsemakh
According to the data of Myrotvorets website, Volodymyr Tsemakh (call sign “Borysych”) was born on July 4, 1961. He graduated from the Poltava Higher Anti-aircraft Missile Command Red Banner School.
He took an active part in the hostilities in Donbas in the summer and autumn of 2014, headed the unit ZU-23, formed in Snizhne. Tsemakh became the commander of a separate air defense company in Snizhne, formed on June 7, 2014. According to Butusov, this unit was subordinate to the former "Minister of Defense" DPR "in 2014, Igor Girkin (Strelkov).
In his interviews, Girkin said that he went immediately after leaving Sloviansk, first to Donetsk, then to Snizhne. Tsemakh’s company, most likely, in July-August 2014, together with Russian troops, attacked Ukrainian airplanes and helicopters. As a reward in October 2014, the company was included in the 1st motorized rifle brigade in Donbas, and Tsemakh received a rank of lieutenant colonel and took the post of deputy air defense brigade commander.
“Yes, Borysych was the head of the air defense service in Snizhne in July-August 2014 (before that, he was the commander of ZU-23-2 mobile units in Semenivka and distinguished himself in this position),” Girkin wrote on his Facebook.
TheBabel edition, citing its own sources, reports that Tsemach provided the delivery of military equipment, heavy weapons, small arms, ammunition from the territory of Russia to the “DPR”, and also distributed them among his subordinates in occupied Snizhne.
It is reported that in March 2015, Tsemakh was dismissed and sent for registration to the Donetsk Military Commissariat. In March 2017, he was appointed "deputy commander of the battalion of military unit 08819", but soon he was early retired by age.
Details of the special operation
Iryna Tsemakh (the wife of the detainee) reported that on June 27, Volodymyr Tsemakh came home a little earlier. When she returned, she noticed that their car was not in the same place as usual.
According to the detainee’s wife, the door to the apartment was closed. When she got home, she saw that the things were scattered, his wallet, car keys were on the floor. Also, the woman noticed blood on the floor. The documents of her husband were missing, as well as her own. Iryna suspects that two fair-haired men might be involved in the disappearance of her husband – they appeared at their entrance recently.
Snizhne is located 20 km from the border with Russia, the closest checkpoint on the contact line is about 45 km from the town.
“What is the point of kidnapping a person from the deep rear? From the words of the lawyer, we know that the Security Service officers did it and that he was taken around the checkpoints bypassing the checkpoints,” said the detainee’s daughter in a comment to the Russian BBC.
At the same time, the newsroom's Telegram channel reports that Tsemakh was taken through the Maryinka checkpoint, in a wheelchair, under the guise of a paralyzed father, and on forged documents.
It is noted that on the morning of June 28, Tsemakh's wife found a notice from a lawyer from Kyiv in her mailbox that her husband was detained.
"On June 28, he was taken to Kyiv, and on June 29, the Shevchenko district court of Kyiv decided to arrest him for two months, the date of the appeal has not yet been set," the detainee’s lawyer Roman Gontarev told BBC.
The defender refused to discuss other details of the case, citing the secret of the investigation.
Valuable witness in MH17
It is noted that Tsemakh might have some information about the tragedy of MH17 flight, shot down in the Donbas in 2014.
Journalist Yuriy Butusov believes that the detainee personally knew the warlords of the mercenaries who fought in Snizhne area. "He knew exactly who organized the attacks on Ukrainian aircraft in the border area. Therefore, he will help prove the participation of Girkin and other Russian soldiers in the fighting on the border," he said.
The daughter of the detainee, Maria, believes that they would try to make Tsemakh responsible for the crash of the “Boeing” of flight MH17, as he was the head of the air defense system in Snizhne.
Now Russian propaganda is trying in every way to diminish the importance of Tsemakh, since his testimony in international courts can lead to dire consequences for Putin and the Russian Federation. "And every proof of the involvement of the Russian Federation in an organized invasion strengthens the accusations and requirements for international lawsuits from countries affected by the actions of the Russian Federation."