Semyon Semenchenko: People who were members of a “terrible and terrible PMC” are now worth their weight in gold

Semyon Semenchenko: People who were members of the

Former commander of the “Donbass” battalion and former people's deputy Semen Semenchenko, the Kyiv Court of Appeal released from the pre-trial detention center under house arrest. A letter from the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, which spoke of the need to send a person with combat experience to the front, helped to reverse the position of the prosecutor's office regarding the arrest.

Semenchenko is accused of creating a private military company, which is banned in Ukraine. What is happening with the case and whether he agrees to be at home, Semyon told in an interview with KP in Ukraine.

A year ago they were already released

– Semyon, you returned home that same day when the court ruled to change the measure of restraint? How does it feel?

– Yes, I came home on Tuesday, June 21st. I immediately remembered how a year ago I was already released, and two weeks later they put me back in the cell. Feelings are understandable – a native home, a native family, that says it all.

I walked around Kyiv with my brothers. Almost everything is like in peacetime. But for now, I’m watching all this, like in a computer game, because the year of imprisonment makes itself felt.

The commander should not lead people from home, but be directly at the front, especially since the front is now in those places which I released in 2014.

– You were rushing from the pre-trial detention center to the front, and you were given house arrest. Will you put up with this?

– The commander should not lead people from home, but be directly at the front, especially since the front is now in those places that I liberated with the boys in 2014. These are Lisichansk, Bakhmut… Popasnaya, unfortunately, was abandoned.

Therefore, I would very much like to take part in the defense of these cities. I believe that I will soon be at the front.

Separate opinion of Judge Sidorov

– What is happening with the consideration of your case?

– In the Shevchenko district court, the trial in my case has been going on for 7 months, the meetings are constantly postponed and the indictment has not even been announced yet. I would like to note that one of the judges, Yevgeny Sidorov, expressed a dissenting opinion in May, in which he emphasized that there were no risks of my being in the wild, and he believes that I am being kept behind bars for no reason.

This was one of the arguments on the basis of which the Kyiv Court of Appeal changed the preventive measure. Judge Sidorov at the beginning of the war went to the defense of Kyiv for several weeks and drank dashing along with other fighters. Therefore, he looks at today's world differently than other judges who went on vacation.

– Why are the courts postponed and how do you intend to act?

– The courts are postponed because 7 out of 8 defendants in the case are already at war and cannot always attend meetings even remotely.

The trials are being postponed because 7 out of 8 defendants in the case are already at war and cannot always attend the hearings even remotely.

As for my actions, today (the conversation took place on the morning of June 22. – Ed.) There will again be a court session, I will appear at it and file a petition to change the preventive measure in order to get the right to fulfill my civic duty and defend the country.

– Are seven of your friends fighting in the squad you were going to command?

– No, they are fighting in different detachments, because in unison with the indignation of Russian and Belarusian propagandists, they did not let me out of the pre-trial detention center in early March. Some are fighting in the infantry, others are now being transferred to the Special Operations Forces.

The most interesting thing is that all these people who used to be members of the “terrible and terrible private military company” are now worth their weight in gold. They are instructors, they teach military science to people who have taken a machine gun for the first time.

If this ridiculous criminal case had not been opened a year and a half ago, we would have developed normally and brought great benefits to the state. What can I say, if our base, around which there was so much noise, now houses both local self-defense and the armed forces. They are all grateful that we created this opportunity for them.

There are fantasies and there is reality. So reality has shown that those who were accused defend their homeland, and even the camp of “criminals” works for the state.

War can be inherited by children

– Now it is difficult to make and make forecasts. But still, what do you think about the duration of the war?

– General Carl von Clausewitz said that war is a continuation of politics – only by other means. We see that now there is an imperial policy of Russia, and it has its own goal. There is Ukraine, which defends its independence. We can argue a lot about the peaceful or military resolution of the conflict, but the population strives to defend its independence and its territory.

This conflict can only be resolved by armed means. We do not agree to hand over the occupied lands, to recognize Crimea as Russian. I myself was born on the peninsula, and then lived in the Donbass. Therefore, I believe that this war is for years. Here I would even advise you to think about how to prepare today's children to defend their homeland.

Our base, around which there was so much noise, now houses both local self-defense and the armed forces.

I sincerely wish that our children do not have to take up arms, but we understand that we will either be masters on our land or slaves. So far, I can see that the war will definitely last more than a year.

– Your wife did not leave with the children when Kyiv was shelled. Did you support such a decision?

– My wife, and children, and mother were not afraid. In the first weeks, months of the war, when our tanks stood and waited to be captured or not, they provided volunteer assistance. They behaved as I expected and I am proud of them.

You can think a lot about wasted time in prison, but there is also a positive. You certainly see who your friends are and who your loved ones are. There is a reassessment of values ​​in yourself.

I was in a special building of the pre-trial detention center

– And how are your children? Are you ready to part with your dad again if he goes to war?

The kids don't understand what's going on yet. They already let me out, then they said “oh!” and planted again. Therefore, now the sons are asking: dad, how much did you get? I explain that if those who are involved in my business are smart enough to understand that I am more useful at the front than as a guinea pig in prison, then I will be out for a long time.

Over the year, my sons have grown up. We need to make up for what we lost when we were deprived of live communication.

– By the way, what were the conditions of detention in the pre-trial detention center?

– After my arrest, I spent 7 months in solitary confinement in the SBU pre-trial detention center. Then I went on a hunger strike, and when I was already starting to lose consciousness, I was transferred to the pre-trial detention center in Lukyanovka. There are no solitary confinement because it is considered torture. I was in a cell with one more person, relations were normal.

I was sitting in the building where Yury Lutsenko and Andriy Antonenko used to be. This is the building where the defendants in high-profile cases are kept, the cells are controlled. The lock can only be opened when accompanied by an operator. Walks separately from others, all connections are considered with very close attention.

Another part of the Lukyanovskaya prison is also bondage, but somewhere close to the hostel.

Not only the accused are fighting, but and evidence

– If they let him go to war, will the trial be suspended?

– Perhaps, yes, perhaps, they will continue. I am completely, like my brothers, confident in my rightness. I came by myself, I was not detained. I did not commit a crime, but did a useful thing, so I will even go to video conferences from the front, and let them judge me like that.

And the legal weapons that were confiscated from security companies, and the weapons that were allegedly found from us, was issued by the prosecutor's office to the armed forces at the beginning of the war.

The preliminary hearing on the case began in December, and since the end of February, the lads have also left the front via videoconference. True, if this is Severodonetsk and shelling, then the meeting is postponed. And some people ended up in the occupation and even got in touch from there.

We did not defend the country to be called criminals. And we are ready to defend ourselves in court.

There is another interesting point. Both the legal weapons that were confiscated from security firms, and the weapons that were allegedly found from us, were issued by the prosecutor's office to the armed forces at the beginning of the war.

– That is, physical evidence is not stored, but used ?

– Yes, I want to add that the weapon that was supposedly found with us was actually found a kilometer from our base. There is a man who testified that he buried it at the behest of Semenchenko. And there is nothing else – no fingerprints, nothing else. That person has already received a suspended sentence.

And even this weapon is at war. And the accused fight. For unknown reasons, I alone cannot defend Ukraine. That's why there was a letter from the GUR that a person is required at the front, and stop playing these games. They could have been justified politically in time of peace, but now there is war, and everyone should be in their places.

Background

Semyon Semenchenko was taken into custody on March 26, 2021. Before that, the SBU reported that an illegal paramilitary armed group, which appeared to be a private military company, had been exposed in Ukraine. Semyon Semenchenko and NABU freelance agent Yevgeny Shevchenko were named the organizers of the PMC.

According to the SBU, the company included more than 150 people who signed contracts in the Middle East and allegedly supplied weapons there.

The position of the suspects was that they simply gave work to veterans of the ATO, and denied involvement in PMCs and weapons.

On May 14, the SBU announced that it had handed Semenchenko a new suspicion – a terrorist act, namely, a grenade launcher shot at the building of Channel 112 in the summer of 2019.

On July 14, Semenchenko was released from the pre-trial detention center under house arrest, and on July 26 he was again placed under arrest without the right to bail.

On September 29, the SBU released a press a release stating that it has completed the investigation into the PMC case and is preparing it for submission to the court. 9 people appear in the accusation, in particular, the former People's Deputy Semyon Semenchenko. He faced up to 8 years in prison with possible confiscation. And if a terrorist attack was proven in court, then up to 12 years in prison.

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