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Ukraine declares suspects of ecocide Russian officers who ordered to attack nuclear facility

14 February, 2024 Wednesday
21:44

The Specialized Environmental Prosecutor's Office and the Ukrainian Security Service identified five Russian servicemen who ordered the shelling of the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, which houses the Neutron Source nuclear facility and a nuclear material storage facility

This was reported by the press service of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor's Office.

"As far as we know, this will be the first case in the world of a criminal prosecution for the crime of ecocide committed during the war. According to available information, the suspected commander was also involved in crimes in Syria. He was not held accountable then, and now he is fighting against Ukraine," said Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin.

Multiple attacks on the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology

From the beginning of March to mid-September 2022, the Russians struck the institute 74 times. They used air bombs, high-explosive fragmentation shells from cannon artillery, fragmentation, and cluster shells from Grad, Uragan, Smerch, and Pion multiple launch rocket systems.

"According to the conclusion of a comprehensive forensic engineering, environmental and economic examination, the environment was damaged to the tune of almost UAH 15 billion. The cost and scope of restoration of the Institute's buildings and structures that were destroyed and damaged exceeds UAH 30 million. And these are not the final figures. Russian shelling destroyed exclusive multimillion-dollar equipment, which has no analogues in the world," the prosecutor's office said.

Who gave the orders

Investigators identified that it was the head of the Western Military District of the Russian Armed Forces, Colonel General Alexander Zhuravlev and four of his subordinates:

  • Lieutenant General Oleg Makovetsky, commander of the 6th Air Force and Air Defense Army;
  • Lieutenant General Vladislav Yershov, Commander of the 6th Combined Arms Army;
  • Colonel Pavel Pilyukov, Commander of the 45th High-Powered Artillery Brigade;
  • Colonel Evgeny Gerashchenko, commander of the 79th Guards Jet Artillery Brigade.

The main suspect is Colonel General, at the time the current commander of the Western Military District of the Russian Armed Forces, who directly supervised the destruction of the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology.

Photo: Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor's Office

The next suspects in the military hierarchy are two generals: the commander of the 6th Combined Arms Army and the commander of the 6th Air Force and Air Defense Army.

On March 12, the Neutron Source nuclear facility at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology came under fire from Russian troops. On March 28, the Neutron Source nuclear facility at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology came under fire from Russian troops. Two other war criminals who have been notified of suspicion are Russian colonels: the commander of the 45th High-Power Artillery Brigade and the commander of the 79th Guards Jet Artillery Brigade of Novozybkov.

The three generals were notified of suspicion of intentional actions committed to change the boundaries of the territory and state border of Ukraine in violation of the procedure established by the Constitution of Ukraine, which led to grave consequences, of waging aggressive war, of violating the laws and customs of war and of committing actions that could cause an environmental disaster - ecocide.

The two colonels are charged with Part 2 of Article 28, Part 1 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, Part 2 of Article 28, Article 441 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

The issue of putting all suspects on the wanted list is currently being decided.

  • On March 26, 2022, the Neutron Source nuclear facility of the Institute of Physics and Technology in Kharkiv came under Russian shelling.
  • On March 27, 2022, regular shelling by the Russian troops damaged the building of the Neutron Source nuclear facility of the Institute of Physics and Technology in Kharkiv, in particular, the building's thermal insulation cladding was damaged, and the cladding materials in the experimental hall partially crumbled.
  • On March 28, the Neutron Source nuclear facility at the Institute of Physics and Technology in Kharkiv came under fire from Russian troops.
  • On June 25, as a result of Russian shelling of Kharkiv, the Neutron Source nuclear subcritical facility at the Institute of Physics and Technology was damaged.
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