Day 757: Missing Lawyer And Attack On Witness’ Wife Cast Shadow Over Trial Of Spetsnaz Soldiers

March 15, 2016
Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Aleksandr Aleksandrov in court. Photo: Zuma/TASS


Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.


An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


Missing Lawyer And Attack On Witness’ Wife Cast Shadow Over Trial Of Spetsnaz Soldiers

Oksana Sokolovksaya, a lawyer defending captured Russian spetsnaz officer Yevgeny Yerofeyev, has appealed for protection by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) as she fears for her life, reports.


Sokolovskaya’s appeal follows the disappearance of Yuri Grabovsky, who was defending the other Russian captured near Schastye last year, Aleksandr Aleksandrov, and an attack on the family of a witness in the case.

Grabovsky was last seen on March 5. Five days later Odessa police put out a search notice for him

Sokolovskaya today said that she thinks that Grabovsky may be dead.

According to the lawyer, certain items, including a weapon, were missing from Grabovsky’s apartment, indicating, in her opinion, that a crime may have been staged.

The judge presiding over the trial, Mykola Dadyk, said that Sokolovskaya must present the court with proof that she is in danger due to her work on the case. 

Aleksandrov has requested time to complete negotiations with a new lawyer, while the trial is suspended due to Grabovsky’s absence.

On Sunday morning unknown individuals broke into the communal apartment of a witness in the case – Kirill Veres, a former SBU officer and fighter in the 92nd Brigade of the Ukrainian Army. He was one of the fighters who captured Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev on May 16, 2015.

Kirill himself was not in the apartment but his wife, Anna, opened the door.


She told Obozrevatel that the men, wearing the uniform of housing and utilities officers, put a bag over her head when she opened the door before tying up her young son and landlady.

They questioned Anna about the case, as well as the whereabouts and appearance of her husband before putting a gun to her head and making her open a safe containing weapons and documents.

Anna was ordered to tell her husband that “he has a month to think on it,” suggesting he would know what they were referring to. The men then took her phone and locked her in the apartment.

Military prosecutor Igor Nimchenko today said that he could absolutely confirm the incident and said that a criminal investigation had now been opened.

— Pierre Vaux