The acting prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine has lashed out at the state security agency SBU over its criminal probe into the ongoing elections, saying his administration will answer in kind with an investigation into mass civilian killings by pro-Kiev troops.
“If the SBU has actually opened a criminal probe into the DPR elections, we will in turn open a criminal investigation into the genocide,” Alexander Zakharchenko said in an interview with the Russian News Service radio.
This statement came after Ukraine’s Security Service said on Facebook that the presidential and parliamentary polls in the two breakaway provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk allegedly violated Par. 1 Article 109 of the country’s Criminal Code that punishes «actions aimed at forceful change or overthrow of the constitutional order or takeover of government.”
Zakharchenko added that SBU’s criminal probe suggested «they will never recognize the DPR.» Both regions have been vying for independence from Ukraine after the country went through a painful political crisis, which resulted in a coup in February.
Several mass graves filled with human remains were found close to Donetsk in late September. According to the latest reports, the graves contained around 400 bodies that the Donetsk government believes to have been civilians executed by Ukraine’s National Guard troops stationed near the city.
Three days after the discovery was made, the site was visited by a delegation of the Amnesty International watchdog that compiled a 20-page report titled “Summary Killings During the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine.”
In October, the Russian Investigative Committee claimed it had irrefutable evidence of the National Guard and the Right Sector nationalist group’s participation in the massacre.