18:08 20.07.2020

Zamana repeats charges against him for treason are illegal, says incompetent, biased people cannot investigate charges

4 min read

KYIV. July 20 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Former Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Colonel-General Volodymyr Zamana has reiterated that the accusation of high treason against him is illegal, and that he is convinced that this case should not be investigated by incompetent or biased people, but at least by the temporary investigative commission of Ukraine's parliament.

"A year and two months have passed since the measure of restraint was changed, and I was released. During this time, not a single interrogation, in fact, was. Practically the same prosecutors who were under [former Military Chief Prosecutor Anatoliy] Matios are investigating. Concrete evidence of my betrayal… There is no subversive activity or work for the Russia. The net remainder is only the accusation of carrying out the reforms that were not carried under me, but in 2012-2014," he said at a press conference hosted by Interfax-Ukraine on Monday.

Zamana pointed out that there is no direct evidence in this case, and the 33-year-old investigator of the Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) or a military prosecutor are not competent to investigate the charges.

"I believe that this case can only be investigated by, at least, a temporary investigative commission of parliament, with the involvement of the military, former chiefs of the General Staff, authoritative people of Ukraine. I am ready to answer all questions that will be raised. All the reforms carried out in 2012-2014 were done so collectively, on the basis of all the laws of Ukraine in force at that time. Therefore, I have nothing to fear. And to establish the truth, a temporary commission of inquiry is needed, which will analyze not only the situation for 2012-2014, but also for other years," he said.

The ex-chief of the General Staff recalled that in 2014, martial law was not declared in Ukraine either throughout the country, or even in certain territories, and from February 20 to April 7, 2014, the head of the Anti-Terrorist Center under the SBU State Security Service was the only official authorized to organize and conduct an anti-terrorist operation.

"We have seized the Supreme Council of Crimea, and there was not even a person to be appointed. High points on the peninsula were seized. Who prevented them from taking them back into control? Elementary things. Turchynov recently said he could not do this, because that the Armed Forces were not ready. At the time, different units of Ukraine's Internal Troops under the Ministry of Internal Affairs were active. Turchynov didn't figure out during five years in charge of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) what units were. He recently stated that at the time the annexation of Crimea, The Armed Forces were manned with conscripts. So, I say the following: let him show any document showing that in the beginning of 2014 contract soldiers could replace conscript soldiers and be used on the day we received an order (to deploy them)," he said.

Zamana also claims that an operation was prepared in Crimea, about which he reported to the then acting President Oleksandr Turchynov and the leadership of the state on February 28, 2014. It involved additional fuel and additional food kits supplied to the grouping of Ukrainian troops in Crimea.

"If there had been political will, then, naturally, there would not be such a shameful surrender of our territory. It is difficult for me to talk now about how this operation would develop, but the results would be… unambiguous. There were people, and there was preparation," said.

Zamana said that the main reason for the "surrender" of Crimea in 2014 was the absence of political decisions on the declaration of martial law in Crimea and the use of the Armed Forces.

"The commander cannot order his units, combat missions by himself. This requires appropriate political decisions. During these six years there has not been a single decision by Turchynov or Poroshenko on the use of the Armed Forces, legitimizing the actions that commanders took upon themselves. Even in the Kerch Strait. [In November 2018], someone took a decision, but Poroshenko's signature is absent," he said.

As reported, on February 25, 2019, law enforcement officers detained Zamana and notified him of suspicion of committing high treason. Chief Military Prosecutor Matios announced the measure the next day. On the night of February 26, Pechersky District Court of Kyiv remanded Zamana into custody until March 27, 2019 without setting bail. On May 16, 2019, the Spokesman for Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office Andriy Lysenko announced that the Main Military Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine had completed a pre-trial investigation in criminal proceedings against Zamana. On May 24, 2019 the Kyiv Court of Appeal released Zamana from custody.