Ukraine publishes video proving Kremlin directed separatism in eastern Ukraine and Crimea

A pro-separatism rally organized with the help of Russian officials near the Odesa Oblast Council on 1-3 March 2014. Photo: snapshot from the video released by the GPO

A pro-separatism rally organized with the help of Russian officials near the Odesa Oblast Council on 1-3 March 2014. Photo: snapshot from the video released by the GPO 

2016/08/23 • Crimea, Featured, News

Article by: Olena Makarenko, Alya Shandra

On 22 August 2016, Ukraine’s General Prosecutors Office (GPO) released a video it says proves that top officials of the Russian Federation were involved in the illegal annexation of Crimea and stoking up separatist unrest in southeastern Ukraine in the aftermath of the Euromaidan Revolution.

The video contains phone intercepts of conversations in which Kremlin top advisor Sergey Glazyev discussed organizing Russia’s takeover of Crimea and pro-separatism rallies which eventually led to the outbreak of war on the territory of Ukraine. Curiously, it had been deleted from the GPO’s YouTube account but a copy is available on Censor.net. The video had been republished on the GPO’s channel the following day, with the explanation that it was removed due complaints about a copyright violation of the introductory music.

In a conversation dated 27 February 2014 (the day when the Crimean Parliament was seized, the Russian tricolor was raised, Aksyonov was appointed as the self-proclaimed governor, and a decision to hold a “referendum” was made) Russian President Vladimir Putins’s top advisor Glazyev advised Russian State Duma deputy Konstantin Zatulin, who was about to visit Crimea, to facilitate the inclusion of “needed”  people to the self-proclaimed “government” of Crimea that would ensure the further occupation of peninsula.

Putin’s advisor Sergey Glazyev. (Photo: Zn.ua)

In particular, Glazyev asked Zatulin to appoint “the street demonstrators” to executive positions in Crimea, who apparently didn’t trust Aksyonov and needed additional support “because they might disperse.”

A master plan peeks out of all the conversations: prop up “popular support,” ensure the relevant vote by the local authorities, invade under the guise of providing “protection” to the local population.

In an intercept dated 6 March 2014, Glazyev informed the self-proclaimed “Prime Minister” of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov that the wording of the questions of the so-called “referendum” on seceding from Ukraine to be held ten days later “were problematic,” and that “we here are thinking how to formulate them so that people would understand them for sure.” According to Glazyev, many voters would not support the formulation “as part of Ukraine.” To this Aksyonov answered that five groups of Russians from different organizations who brought pre-made materials “approved by the State Duma from the viewpoint of it being able to adopt the relevant regulations.” The same day, Crimean officials announced that the questions for the “referendum” would include an option to join Russia, not just ensure greater autonomy from Ukraine.

On 28 February 2014, Glazyev discussed questions of financing mass unrest and capturing oblast councils in the Odesa and Kharkiv oblasts, as well as Crimea, with Zatulin.

“We use power only to support the people, nothing more. And if there are no people, what support could there be?!”

Zatulin reported that they had “financed Odesa and Kharkiv” and collected requests from other regions, but placed them on hold because he had not yet “settled the financial issues,” and griped that the financial issues were becoming a burden, and that when he approached “that guy” (apparently responsible for finances), Zatulin was looked upon as if he was asking for money to build a third villa. Zatulin reported that he paid the Cossacks the money that 10 other people promised them and that he had orders for small sums waiting – 2-3 thousands of UAH. The future self-proclaimed “mayor” of Sevastopol Chalyi had requested a larger sum of 50,000 UAH. Glazyev promised to help sort out the issues.

According to journalist Andriy Lokhmatov, who witnessed the pro-separatism protests in Mykolayiv, their organization would not have been possible without the Russian organizers and money. The Kremlin had artificially stoked up the unrest that would lead to outbreak of war in Ukraine.

Map of the attendance of pro-separatism protests in the aftermath of the Euromaidan revolution. (Image: Euromaidan Press)

Read also: Meet the people behind Novorossiya’s grassroots defeat

In another part (dated by the 1 March 2014) of the recording Glazyev called some unknown person named Anatoliy and expressed his discontent because he failed to prop up support in Zaporizhzhia for the intervention of the Russian Forces:

“Why is Zaporizhzhia silent? We know that there are 1,500 people. Where are they? Where are the cossacks? I have an order to get everybody out on the streets, to demand Russia’s help against the ‘banderivtsi.’ Specially trained people need to knock out the ‘banderivtsi’ from the building [of the Oblast Council] and then to gather the Oblast Council and a create a body of the executive power.”

Glazyev instructs that people should be taken out on the streets like in Kharkiv, saying that “the President signed his order [on troop deployment in Ukraine], the operation is underway, we’re getting notified that the military is moving.”

He stressed that military intervention without a picture of “popular support” was impossible. “We use power only to support the people, nothing more. And if there are no people, what support could there be?!” – he stressed the Kremlin’s technique of hybrid war.

Kharkiv, pro-Russian protests. 1 March 2014 (Photo: snapshot from the video released by the GPO)

Freeing the Kharkiv Oblast Council from separatists. (Photo: snapshot from the video released by the GPO)

On 27 February 2014, Glazyev talked with Russian deputy Konstantin Zatulin about organizing pro-Russian coups in Odesa and Kharkiv took place. This is just a week after shooting of Euromaidan protesters and disgraced pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych’s exile from Ukraine.

All these conversations, if proven authentic, prove Russia’s direct involvement in the Project Novorossiya in 2014, aiming to dismember Ukraine in the wake of the victory of a pro-democratic uprising. Fortunately, it failed in the majority of the regions.

Among the conversations, agreements for financial funding the project came up frequently. For example, on 27 February 2014, a certain Tamara called Glazyev on behalf of Yevhen Zhulin, the leader of the illegal armed band Oplot, to inform that she had sent him a cost bill. Glazyev assured her that his representatives will contact them regarding financing this separatist group in Kharkiv.

But finances are only part of the Kremlin’s involvement. A master plan peeks out of all the conversations: prop up “popular support,” ensure the relevant vote by the local authorities, invade under the guise of providing “protection” to the local population.

In a conversation dated 1 March 2014, Glazyev instructs Kirill, a citizen of the Russian Federation, to seize the Oblast Council in Odesa immediately in order to assemble the deputies to adopt a decision to “consider the authorities in Kyiv [the interim government acting after the Euromaidan’s victory – Ed.] to be illegitimate.”  Kirill, in his turn, says that the deputies are afraid and do not convene. “That is the point,” Glazyev pushes. “You can’t go away. You need to take this Council, gather it together, make it adopt decisions.” Kirill counters that “a few people should fly in to receive particular instructions.” Glazyev answers: “ If you gather in a week, the ‘banderivtsi’ and police will be there already and will not let anybody in.”

You need to act decisively, Glazyev persuaded:

“The way that they did in Kharkiv and Donetsk. Our guys already took the local councils there. And here you need to do the same. To go into the local council and assemble the deputies. Don’t disperse, carry on. If you just assemble to talk and then go away, it will result in a defeat.”

In another conversation, a certain Denis from Odesa who together with others is ready to act “decisively” asks for instructions and reassurances from Glazyev. The latter assures him that he will be supported, and that it is important for people to appeal directly to Putin and Russia during the protests, with requests for protection. But it’s most important, Glazyev presses, that the local council be gathered “like in Kharkiv” and the deputies vote for the resolution to ask protection from Russia. “Who didn’t come and vote is a traitor, ‘banderite,’ fascist and so on, with all the ensuing consequences,” Glazyev instructs Denis in the methods with which the local deputies should adopt the decision the Kremlin needs.

The next day, a massive pro-Ukrainian march was held in Odesa, which turned deadly when a fire that started in the Trade Unions building took the lives of 42 people. Ukraine’s MFA would later say that it was this tragedy that proved that “Novorossiya” plan in Odesa was “doomed to fail.”

A Russian-organized pro-separatism protest near the Odesa Oblast Council on 1-3 March 2014. Photo: snapshot from the video released by the GPO

Taking into consideration the discovered evidence, the GPO launched a probe into 18 high-ranking officials of the Russian Federation, including Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian presidential adviser Sergei Glazyev, on suspicion of committing crimes against the national security of Ukraine. According to the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, the criminal charges were announced on August 8 with all 18 suspects wanted for “particularly grave crimes against Ukraine’s national and public security, peace and international order.” They all received the notifications by couriers or emails. However, the GPO site lists the names of 20 officials.

According to the General Prosecutors Office, as of 20 August 2016, the criminal actions of the representatives of the Russian authorities and heads of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation caused the death of 2,263 and wounded at least 8,394 soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other armed groups and caused material damage to Ukraine in amount UAH 1,3 trillion (USD 51,3bn).  

Ukraine’s GPO says that the following Russian officials should be placed on an international wanted list.

The list of the citizens of the Russian Federation against which criminal proceedings have been initiated:

  1. Advisor of the President of the Russian Federation Glazyev Sergei
  2. Ex Plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation in the former “Crimea Federal District” Oleg Belaventsev
  3. Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, General Sergei Shoigu
  4. Deputy Head of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, General Dmitriy Bulgakov
  5. Deputy Head of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, General Nikolay Pankov
  6. Head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation – the first Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, General Valeriy Gerasimov
  7. First Deputy Head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Lieutenant-General Nikolay Bohdanovskiy
  8. Deputy Head of the Southern Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Lieutenant-General Igor Turchenyuk
  9. Deputy head of the Commander in Chief of the Navy of the Russian Federation, Vice Admiral Aleksandr Fedotenkov
  10. Commander of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation Aleksandr Vitko
  11. First Deputy Head of the Commander of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, Vice Admiral Aleksandr Nosatov
  12. Deputy Commander of the Coastal Defense Troops of the Russian Federation, General Major Aleksandr Ostrikov
  13. Head of the Department of the Combat Training of the Black Sea Fleet, Captain 1st Rank Aleksandr Chesnokov
  14. Deputy Commander of the 810th Marine Brigade of the Russian Federation, Lieutenant Colonel Vladymyr Karpushenko
  15. Commander of the 41st Missile Ship Brigade of the Russian Federation, Captain 1st Rank Aleksandr Tolmachov
  16. Commander of the 20th Army of the Western Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Major Segey Kuzovlev
  17. Commander of the 200th Pechenga Separate Motorized Riffle Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Major Oleg Tsekov
  18. Commander of the 34th Separate Motorized Riffle Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Major Mykhail Zusko
  19. Deputy Commander of the 58th Army of the Southern Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Major Eugeniy Nikiforov
  20. Commander of the of the 58th Army of the Southern Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Lieutenant Andrey Gurulyov

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Jan Johansen

    Where are all the Trolls?

    • Mykola Potytorsky

      maybe they have not been paid

      • Oknemfrod

        Millions of Russians have been working for months on end without pay and hoping to be paid some day. Just yesterday, miners in Rostov oblast decided to go on a hunger strike because they haven’t been paid for a year.
        So, not being paid for a while can hardly be the reason putinoid trolls aren’t popping up en masse, all the more that compared to the rest of their compatriots, they have been so far paid very well and regularly for doing a job the Kremlin perceives much more important than mining or even building soccer stadia for WC 2018 and therefore must have accumulated some personal financial cushion – at least, it ought to be enough for them to sustain themselves on palm oil “cheese” till the next payment.
        More likely, faced with damnable evidence, they’re waiting for the FSB to add another chapter to its troll manual.

        • Mykola Banderachuk

          Wow, this unpaid business sort of reminds me of the final days of the fsu, but the Russians like to be treated as slaves who work for nothing. But I bet you the Putin boyars still get paid, I mean medvedev said-we have no money but you all have a nice day anyways.

          • Oknemfrod

            When Medvedev said “there’s just no money”, he didn’t add “for saps like you” – but he sure meant it. Dunno if they’ll ever get the full message. The amount they owe to the miners from Rostov is mere pittance compared to what is stashed in a shoe box in a closet of any well-ranked bureaucrat, let alone compared to the value of Peskov’s watch collection.
            p.s. Так воно завжди було на росії, так працює зараз, і так працюватиме довіку … аж доки вся ця непорозуміла потвора не зогниє вщерть.

      • Alex George

        Yes, its quite good, considering that Russia has been waging war on Ukraine for the last two years and attempting to destroy its economy. Yet the Ukrainian figures are increasing and the Russian figures are decreasing. Time is on Ukraine’s side and against Russia.

        Think about that then get back to us.

      • Mykola Potytorsky

        compare russia’s gdp to the United States, Canada and the EU then you can get back to me — your homework assignment has been given.

        • Mykola Potytorsky

          USA GDP $55,800
          CANADA GDP $45,500
          EU $35,000
          russia gdp $11,000, this is down from $13,500 two years ago
          your country is going south real quick – enjoy the ride to the bottom comrade

          Yup poor little russia is a “performer”

      • Mykola Banderachuk

        have you completed the homework assignment I gave you, little boy!

    • Quartermaster

      Other than the idiot who claims he’s from London, I haven’t seen a troll on here for awhile. Putin has pretty well lost the PR battle, and the longer things go, the more he will be hammered financially for his thuggery.

      • Mykola Banderachuk

        You are right, I have not seen Leo’s tomasick for awhile too

    • Oknemfrod

      Patience. They must be holding a meeting on Savushkina, deciding how to best deny the undeniable.

  • Alex George

    The map above well illustrates Russia’s failure.

    Even Crimea, the one real success, was more a Ukrainian success than a Russian one – the success of those Ukrainian generals and admirals sympathetic to Russia who handed Crimea over without a shot being fired! But it was no success of Russia’s military.

    In the Donbass by contrast, Russia’s military largely failed. They set themselves the goal of making the south and east into a de facto separate state, but ended up with only a tiny sliver of the east (the part marked in black).

    In particular, they failed to get control of the significant defence industry assets. As a result, Russia is now without capacity to manufacture naval turbine engines, most aircraft turbine engines, and many key electronic components for its higher grade weapons.

    • Alex George

      I agree that Donbass was a great success of the Donbass people – that is why the Russian aggressors and their puppet separatists now hold only about one third of the Donbass. The people opposed them!

      After Russian proxy troops and agents attempted to foment rebellion throughout eastern Ukraine (as far as Kharkiv and Odesa) the Utkrainian army pushed them all the way east and virtually out of Ukraine. Then Putin sent in the Russian army, which in turn pushed back the Ukrainian army, but only to roughly the extent they occupy on the map now. That is less than half of Donetsk province, and about 15% of Luhansk province. The Russians attempted a final offensive in January 2015 which was stopped by the Ukrainians. So much for the vaunted Russian army.

      All the people in the territory occupied by Russia and its puppet separatists do not want to be ruled by Moscow. But they are given no choice. Conditions in the occupied areas are not good – there is virtually no economy, and the government is little more than gangsters and Russian military.

      Ukraine need only hold the line and wait, while Russia’s economy goes down.

      And Russia has so far been incapable of replacing much of the military technology it lost to Ukraine, and Ukraine has been able to find other customers, and will find more, while Russia stagnates.

    • Robert

      Hey, gerad, it seems quite clear that you’re so full of $hit your eyes are probably brown. Why don’t you up-vote yourself so you have at least one vote on the diarrhea you spew? You’re not worthy of any serious response…

  • Steve

    What is going on here? The GPO posted the video on 22 August only 1 day ago. The video link takes you to YouTube where you are told the video has been removed by the user??????

    Why would the GPO remove the video? Is this whole article a propaganda piece? Even the vids of the conversations intercepted over the last two years have been removed.

    This is not passing the smell test.

    • Quartermaster

      I clicked on the link and the video was there.

      • Steve

        The page has been modified since I read it. The link in the first sentence is no longer active. The link further down is active and has been added since I looked. Have it now.

        • Quartermaster

          Not sure what link you’re referring to. The version I reads has no link in the first sentence. There were only two links, one to Censor.net and the other to You Tube. The You Tube link was the one that was active for me.

  • Alex George

    What does that have to do with it? All warfare is economic, and Russia’s war against Ukraine even more so.

    There were no democratic revolutions. In Crimea, traitors among senior Ukrainian officers (generals and admirals) agreed to hand over the province without a shot being fired. On the mainland, Russian soldiers tried to foment revolt throughout eastern Ukraine, but the Russian-speaking people of eastern Ukraine mainly were not interested – they rejected Putin’s “protection”. Instead, they actively fought against the Russian agents. The small (approximately one third) of Donbass occupied by Russian forces represents the maximum that they were able to take from the Ukrainian army and volunteer battalions.

    And no, 99% of Crimeans did not want to join Russia, nor in Mariupol. In Crimea, the FSB faked a vote and came up with a bogus figure of 96%, but nobody takes that rigged vote seriously. The people of Ukraine do not wish to be ruled by the Tatar tyrants in Moscow, nor shall they be, ever again.