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On Thursday, July 5, Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy gave the first testimony on the case of the former chairman of the Party of Regions faction Olexandr Yefremov, accused of crimes related to separatism. The interrogation was conducted via video from the Podilsky district court of Kyiv and the Starobilsky court of the Luhansk region, where the accused is kept. Today the interrogation did not last long - Parubiy answered several questions and unexpectedly submitted a petition to postpone the meeting until Friday. He explained that he needed to be in the parliament and adopt important laws. The interrogation would begin June 6 at 11 am.
On the visit to Luhansk in 2014
I have visited Luhansk. I came there together with the head of the Security Service (SBU) Valentyn Nalyvaichenko and the deputy head of the SBU, Andriy Levus... Acting President Turchynov mandated the SBU head to conduct the trip to Lugansk. When I have heard about this, I have voluntarily agreed to participate in this trip, received confirmation of this, and thus I came there.
On the situation in the city and negotiations on the settlement of the conflict
After the meeting of the prosecutors, we placed our headquarters on the territory of the military unit, and immediately on the same day, a local representative of the Afghans addressed me. Head of the 8th Afghan hundred of (Maidan, - Ed.) self-defense Oleh Mikhnyuk. He said that Afghan can help solve the problem in Luhansk. I met with the representative of the Afghans Serhiy, he offered to hold talks on the voluntary surrender of weapons and the release of premises. Also, People's Deputy Medyanyk came to us (everything took place in his district). He was interested in neutralizing the conflict and offered his office as a headquarters for negotiations. The same day, together with Andriy Levus we went to Medyanyk’s office, which was in close proximity to the SBU.
A large number of people stood near SBU, as it was clear from their flags, most of them were members of the Communist Party and members of the Party of Regions; they declared that they would defend the SBU.
Oleksiy Karyakin; if I am not mistaken, he was from Stakhanov. Oleksiy Relke, also known as "Nimets." Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the third person, who represented himself as a lawyer. He performed the function of legal support and contacts with other political figures. As for me, I came only with Andriy Levus, since the militants set a condition that there were no bodyguards. We arrived at the Medyanyk's office without any weapons. The militants came with arms, while there were only two of us and we had no bodyguards. Medyanyk was present at the talks, I mean, simply as the head of the office and the People's Deputy, representing the local community, and not as a negotiator. Also, Serhiy-Afghan, took part in the negotiations as an observer.
On the militants
I cannot know for sure, but they were totally dependent during the negotiations. They always told me that they should return to the Security Service for coordinating the positions. They noted that they had a "council of field commanders," responsible for the key decisions are made.
On compromises during the talks
At a certain stage, they reported that they agreed to hand over some of the weapons, leave part of the premises if the state was ready to guarantee them an amnesty. Then I contacted the acting president, and he confirmed the position that if they surrender their weapons, people who have not committed a crime could be amnestied by his decree.
At a certain stage of the talks, we even drafted a document saying that they are citizens of Ukraine, ready to disarm in the event that an amnesty is granted to those who were present in the room.
On the actions of the of Regional Council chairman Valeriy Golenko
At that time, he was the chairman of the regional council in Luhansk region. His name (during the negotiations, - Ed.) was mentioned very often. Moreover, the participants called him on the phone very often. At the time when we drafted a document according to which they should leave the premises, and when they coordinated the provision of tents, sleeping bags, food for people who gathered near the SBU. In my opinion, the greatest cynicism was the idea to arrange a children's party, to bring their playgrounds for children. They believed that in this way they could make the assault of SBU safer. All these things were discussed with Golenko, and this has happened many times.
Yefremov is accused of organizing the seizure of the building of the Luhansk Regional State Administration and in complicity in the seizure of the SBU’s Luhansk office. He is also accused of deliberate actions aimed at changing the state border of Ukraine, of assisting the "Luhansk People's Republic" terrorist organization. In addition, he is accused of high treason.
Yefremov was detained on 30 July 2016 at Boryspil International Airport (he was about to fly to Vienna) on suspicion of violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity by helping to create the Luhansk People's Republic and misappropriation of property.