The Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has informed a senior operational officer of the Crimean Department of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) that he is suspected, in absentia, of the torture and illegal imprisonment of Vladyslav Yesypenko, a Ukrainian journalist and Radio Svoboda freelancer, in 2021.
Quote: "The Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has informed the occupying law enforcement officer, who was involved in the torture and illegal imprisonment of Vladyslav Yesypenko, the Ukrainian journalist, freelance employee of Radio Svoboda (Krym.Realii project), of their suspicion. The actions of the suspect are deemed a violation of the laws and customs of war (Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)."
Details: A citizen of the Russian Federation, who was the senior operational officer of the FSB of Russia for the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, was enforcing the Russian Federation’s policy regarding the persecution of the pro-Ukrainian population of the peninsula.
In particular, in March 2021, near the village of Perevalne, he illegally detained a Ukrainian journalist who had been in Crimea on a working visit for several months.
When the officer inspected the journalist's car, he allegedly "discovered" an explosive device. Without any procedural formalities, he detained the journalist and together with other "law enforcement officers" took him to the city of Bakhchysarai, where they placed the journalist in a basement.
Quote: "Using physical force, electric shock and psychological pressure, the "law enforcement officers" forced the detainee to confess to a crime he did not commit, namely the illegal manufacture, processing or repair of explosive devices.
He was also forced to sign procedural documents prepared in advance by the aforementioned operational officer, and to disclose the location where a stash of explosives was hidden. According to the occupiers, that was where Yesypenko got the components for the grenade that was allegedly found in his car.
By doing that, the suspect violated the prohibitions stipulated by the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as well as violated the laws and customs of war."
- On 16 March 2021, Russian reports indicated that the FSB had detained Yesypenko V. L. in Crimea, who was allegedly collecting information about mass gathering places and had an explosive device in his car. Yesypenko himself allegedly said that he collected the information on the instructions of Colonel Kravchuk, an officer of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine.
- As it turned out, the detained Vladyslav Yesypenko was a freelancer of the Ukrainian Radio Svoboda.
- Employees of the FSB used electric currents to torture Vladyslav Yesypenko. After the publication of his "testimony", Yesypenko refused to testify any further.
- The FSB has announced that a criminal case has been opened against Yesypenko, but the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine has said that the statements of FSB about the detention of a "Ukrainian agent" are a propaganda campaign to "celebrate" the anniversary of the occupation of Crimea.
- On 16 February 2022, the court in Simferopol, controlled by the occupiers, sentenced Vladyslav Yesypenko to 6 years of imprisonment in a corrective colony and a fine of 110,000 Russian rubles.
- In the spring of 2022, Vladyslav Yesypenko was honoured with the American Pen/Barbey Freedom to Write 2022 award.