Photo from UNIAN

Ukrainian security officials say Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, Andrei Kartapolov, is now a suspect in the criminal case probing the enemy seizure of Debaltseve and the killings in the so-called Ilovaisk Cauldron where Ukrainian military suffered heavy losses after being lured into withdrawal from the zone of hostilities and then brutally attacked despite promises to hold fire.

That's according to the SBU press office.

The security agency noted that the charges had been pressed under several articles of the Criminal Code:

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  • Art. 110 P. 3  (Encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine);
  • Art. 437 P. 2  (Conducting an aggressive war);
  • Art. 438 P. 2 (Violations of laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder).
"Charges pressed" / Photo from SBU

In January-February 2015, the Russian official held the post of Chief Main Operations Directorate, Deputy General Staff Chief of the Russian Armed Forces. He planned and coordinated the actions of the aggressor power's troops and proxy forces on seizing the strategic railway hub of Debaltseve and nearby settlements. The SBU believes that the official acted in a conspiracy with other officials who are part of Russian military command.

Detectives say in August 2014, the suspect, along with other representatives of the Russian army command:

  • Was engaged in planning and control of Russian units' activity during the invasion of Ukraine;
  • Was complicit in the treacherous killing of Ukrainian soldiers outside Ilovaisk during their withdrawal via the so-called "green corridor" under the "guarantees" of Russian leadership; and
  • Ensured further armed occupation of other settlements in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The case is being investigated under the guidance of the Office of the Prosecutor General.

If found guilty in court, the suspect faces life in prison.

Ilovaisk tragedy

At the end of August 2014, after days of fierce fighting in the area of Ilovaisk in Donbas, units of the Anti-Terrorist Operation forces were surrounded.

Russian military opened massive fire at Ukrainian convoys that were retreating along the green corridor previously agreed as a safe zone.

According to official data, 366 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, about 450 wounded, and 300 taken prisoner.

At the same time, the parliamentary ad hoc commission investigating the Ilovaisk tragedy estimated the total death toll at nearly 1,000.

On August 14, 2017, the Prosecutor General's Office released the results of an investigation, stating that the main culprit of the Ilovaisk tragedy was the Russian military command.

Read alsoRussian armed forces' military aggression only factor leading to Ilovaisk tragedy – prosecutor's officeOn August 21, 2020, the Office of the Prosecutor General stated that the only factor that led to the tragic events outside Ilovaisk was the military aggression of the Russian Armed Forces.

Within the investigation into Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine, 110 persons, including 68 citizens of the Russian Federation, 21 officials among them, were brought to criminal responsibility (in absentia) for committing said crimes. The convicts have been put on the wanted list.

Also, 48 indictments were forwarded to court for 51 persons, while 35 individuals have been sentenced, including 13 Russian nationals - three military servicemen with the Russian armed forces among them.