Security Service of Ukraine established collaborators from Melitopol and Berdyansk, who helped Russia steal more than 650,000 tons of Ukrainian grain worth more than $200 million from the temporarily occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, reports Center for Investigative Journalism.
As noted, the war crime was facilitated by the head of the occupying “administration of the Zaporozhye region” Yevgeny Balitsky, the acting “mayor of Berdyansk” Alexander Saulenko and the “director” of the Berdyansk seaport Vladimir Stelmachenko appointed by the occupiers.
As the SBU established, Balitsky issued an “instruction”, on the basis of which the property of seven agro-industrial complexes and grain terminals in the Zaporozhye region was illegally transferred to the specially created enterprise “State Grain Operator”.
In addition, the pseudo-measurer Saulenko, together with the “director” of the Berdyansk commercial sea port, Stelmachenko, ensured the removal of grain from warehouses and loading it onto the sea vessel Zhibek Zholy under the flag of the Russian Federation.
Also, the export of grain from the temporarily occupied South of Ukraine passed through seaports and terminals located in the occupied Crimea.
The Russian side involved in this illegal activity the ships under the flags of the Russian Federation and Syria: “Nadezhda”, “Sormovsky-48”, “Fedor”, “Matros Koshka”, “Matros Pozynich”, “Zhibek Zholy”, “St. Konstantin”, “Mikhail Nenashev”, “LAODICEA”.
The SBU informed Evgeny Balitsky, Oleksandr Saulenko and Volodymyr Stelmachenko about suspicions under three articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: Part 8 of Art. 111-1 (collaboration activity); Art. 111-2 (assisting the aggressor state); Part 2 Art. 28, part 1, art. 438 (violation of the laws and customs of war).
In addition, property (including 4 small aircraft located in the Kyiv region) and corporate rights belonging to Balitsky and his family were seized for a total amount of over UAH 149 million.
As reported, on May 26, 2022, Balitsky was suspected in collaboration activities.
CZHR wrote about caravans with stolen Ukrainian grain, which are visible even from space, and schemes for exporting grain through Crimea in the investigation “Kerch way” grain express “.
Vladimir Stelmachenko worked in the Berdyansk port before the occupation – he was the deputy head of the navigation and environmental security service. His “combat path” from military-patriotic work to assistance in the export of grain was traced by the CZHR in the investigation “Port rats. Who helps the occupiers to plunder Ukraine”.
At 4 am on February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in the occupied Donbas. Russia launched missile strikes on the territory of Ukraine and launched a direct full-scale invasion in four directions. The armed forces of Ukraine are rebuffing the enemy, the blitzkrieg plan – to capture Kyiv in two or three days – failed, the Russian army retreated from the capital. The Russian military commits thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout Ukraine.