This is the crux of the accusations voiced last night by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU).
In addition, the SBU suspects that Semenchenko and Shevchenko were the organizers and participants in the scheme for the illegal import of military spare parts and dual-use goods from Russia into Ukraine. Then imported into Ukraine was allegedly sold to state enterprises at inflated prices.
Details from the Security Service
- According to the intelligence service, the PMC consisted of more than 150 people.
- The PMC operated under the cover of security firms and public organizations.
- The training of PMC members, in particular, combat training sessions, training in handling weapons, military combat skills, was conducted at a specially equipped training base in the Kyiv region.
- Some of the PMC members studied at training centers abroad.
- The activities of PMCs were controlled by 15 citizens of Ukraine. They, in particular, recruited potential participants, giving preference to former military and law enforcement officers with experience of participation in hostilities.
- The SBU also claims that they have data on the participation of the defendants in the case in the conclusion of contracts between PMCs and various organizations in the Middle East.
- Proposals have been recorded to organize the supply of weapons to these countries.
The SBU claims that they conducted about 80 searches at the addresses of the office premises, places of residence, temporary stay, and training of the defendants in the case in Kyiv, Kyiv, and Donetsk regions.
They seized: about 5,500 rounds of various calibers, seven RPG-26 anti-tank rocket grenades, four underbarrel grenade launchers, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, two automatic rifles, three pistols and three Kalashnikov AKS and AKS-74 assault rifles, seven pump-action guns, 38 VOG-25 grenade launchers, 21 grenades, 16 UZRGM fuses, six TNT sticks, plastids, a device for ensuring confidential negotiations.
In addition, financial documents and draft records on the organizational structure of the PMC and the personal files of the participants were seized.
According to the sources of the "Strana" outlet, Semenchenko and Shevchenko were actively involved in the sale of weapons from the territories of Donbas not controlled by Ukraine.
Now a few details about the main characters of this investigation.
Who is Semen Semenchenko?
In the past - Konstantin Grishin. He was the commander of the Donbas volunteer battalion. MP of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the VIII convocation from the Samopomich party.
In January 2016, the National Guard issued an order stripping him of his officer rank. The prosecutor's office said that in August 2014 Semenchenko used fake documents to enlist him in military service in the military reserve.
In November 2020, according to the decision of the Supreme Court, he was finally stripped of the ranks of "Major of the National Guard Reserve" and "Captain of the National Guard Reserve".
Was involved in:
- the organization of the economic blockade of Donbas in 2016;
- support of Mikheil Saakashvili and his return to Ukraine in 2017. We are talking about the so-called "MihoMaidan";
- a scandalous trip to Georgia at the end of November 2018. Then, during a special operation in Georgia, six citizens of Ukraine and one citizen of Georgia were detained (according to media reports, the detainees were Semenchenko's people).
During the arrest, according to the Georgian Interior Ministry, the Beretta and Makarov pistols, automatic hand-held firearms, and ammunition were seized.
Semenchenko himself was also in Georgia at that moment. As he said, as an election observer. The detainees allegedly lived separately but met with Semenchenko.
In June 2019, after the victory of Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the presidential elections in Ukraine, Semenchenko announced that he would not run for the Verkhovna Rada.
Who is Shevchenko?
Not to be confused with the namesake - the deputy from the Servant of the People Yevgeny Shevchenko.
Yevgeny Shevchenko is known as a "freelance NABU agent" who has participated in a number of high-profile cases of the bureau. In particular, he was a defendant in the "Zlochevsky case", namely, through him the people of the ex-minister, according to the investigation, transferred a bribe in the amount of $ 6 million to the leadership of NABU and SAP.
According to him, he participated in two dozen operational developments of the bureau. In addition, another high-profile case, which mentions Shevchenko's participation, is the "Gladkovsky-Svynarchuk case."
“To say that I am outraged by these shameful accusations is to say nothing. I am accused of planning attacks on enterprises, provoking military conflicts, intimidating the population, etc., although behind my back is not only the Maidan and the war, but five years of hunting on top corrupt officials in cooperation with NABU," he wrote on Facebook.
He stressed that at this moment he was not detained. And the court for the selection of a preventive measure will be in the near future.
Regarding the charges, he wrote the following:
“In the fall of 2018, I really had plans to become an investor in creating a security company to work in Syria and Afghanistan (guarding facilities and escorting convoys under contracts of the US Department of State). However, after several months of preliminary work, negotiations and meetings in Afghanistan and Iraq (including at the US Embassy in Baghdad) and Trump's statements at the end of 2018 about the withdrawal of the contingent and the reduction of the US presence in these countries, the issue of cooperation has become irrelevant."
The SBU said that Semenchenko, Shevchenko "and other organizers" were informed about the suspicion under Article 260 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Mikheil Saakashvili spoke out in support of Semenchenko and Shevchenko and called the case "cheap story of the SBU:"
"This PMC has been operating for several years, mainly on the territory of Poland. It completely openly trains people both in Ukraine and in Poland, it is a member of the European Union. Why did the Poles not consider it some kind of illegal organization? This is a common international practice, and no secret there is no. If the SBU wants to deal with NABU and its representative Shevchenko, there is nothing to invent these fables. This is the usual revenge of corrupt officials and the main corrupt organization in Ukraine - the SBU."