Strictly Ukrainian Murder

Elaborate operational activities, even when carried out by such renowned professionals as the U.S. intelligence officers, often times lead to unpredicted consequences and unexpected plot twists. At times, such operations result in failures of the very agents conducting them. As a case in point, on January 4, 2021 western media published a recorded conversation that took place on April 11, 2012 in the office of Vadim Zaitsev, a then Head of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus.

On the record, Zaitsev is heard talking during a training for the officers of Alpha, the anti-terrorist division of the SSC of Belarus. Among other things, he discusses planting an explosive in order to murder Pavlo Sheremet, a reporter of Belarusian origin, who at that time had received Russian citizenship and had been living and working in Russia: “We need to work on Sheremet, who is a big headache… We will plant it and such, and this damn rat will be blown into damn pieces—legs this way, arms that way. On the other hand, if everything happens as if naturally, folks will not get the message… The President is awaiting these operations.” Zaitsev’s vis-à-vis responds that “there will be no issues with the planting.”

There are no reasons to doubt the authenticity of this tape, just like there are no grounds to think that the conversation was taped and, most importantly, disseminated without western intelligence. According to a released legend, conversations in Zaitsev’s office in 2012 were handed over by “anonymous sources” to Igor Makar, a former deputy head of a squad at a special division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus, and now a political refugee, who decided to share this information with the reporters after 8 years.

However, Makar makes no secret that he handed over the tape to western diplomats right away, even in 2012. According to him, diplomats (i.e., the U.S. and German intelligence) even warned the intelligence of Russia and, for some reason, Ukraine, that there existed information about plotting an attempt on Sheremet’s life. Albeit, it is hard to believe these claims of Makar. Political refugees are not exactly the kind of people who the diplomats would report to about their interactions and who would be notified about who, why, and about what was being informed (especially given that Sheremet moved to Ukraine only the following year and started hosting a Late at Night with Pavlo Sheremet show on TVi in February of 2013). Moreover, if western politicians were so concerned with Sheremet’s fate, the tape with the former Head of the SSC of Belarus would have been published as early as 8 years ago, in order to prevent the crime. But the fact that the shocking information got out only now suggests that the sole purpose of its dissemination is to compromise Lukashenko, who ceased to be considered as a potential partner by the West after violent crackdown on the protests by the Belarusian opposition in late 2020.

As for the Ukrainian intelligence and law enforcement, they found out about conversations, taped in April of 2012 in the office of the Head of the SSC of Belarus, only in December of 2020, when the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine received the tapes from the U.S. counterparts. At least it was then when a “Biden’s Personal Driver” took the tapes to the Office of the President of Ukraine and started telling, in a cryptic voice, that Sheremet had been murdered by order of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus.

Anyway, American cloak and daggers ought to have thought more carefully before releasing the tapes with the former Head of the SSC of Belarus. Because currently in Ukraine, three people are sitting in the dock who, according to the investigation, on the night of July 20, 2016 planted an explosive in a car of Sheremet’s girlfriend Alyona Prytula, a former lover of Georgiy Gongadze, parked in the center of Kyiv. And even though the indictment contains no motives that Andriy Antonenko, Yuliia Kuzmenko, and Yana Dugar might have had (perhaps, except for the phrase that the defendants set out to disturb the Ukrainian society by murdering a new Prytula’s lover), Anton Herashchenko, a deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, nearly explicitly explained in February of 2020 that the people considered by the investigation as perpetrators were agents of the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU.

On January 30, 2020 Andriy Portnov, a “blogger and an activist” (this is how the former First Deputy Head of the Administration of the President is being called by Miss Prosecutor General Venediktova), published investigative materials handed over to him (apparently, with the authorization of an omnipotent minister Avakov, or perhaps personally by Arsen Borysovych, who maintains personal and business relationships with Portnov). Namely, these materials included a phone call between a certain Vladyslav Hryshchenko and his handler from the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU. Hryshchenko had been convicted 5 times for robberies, burglaries, and fraud; in 2014, he was recruited by the SSU, and on September 24, 2019 was detained for a failed attempt on a businessman’s life in Kosiv (together with his wife Inna, Hryshchenko tried to plant an explosive—almost identical to that used in the Sheremet’s case—into a victim’s car). A stool pigeon brought a specially equipped phone into the Hryshchenko’s cell at the detention facility, which recorded the sound from the microphone and the speaker and transmitted it to the “right place.” As a result, the police were able to tape the conversation between Hryshchenko and his handler from the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU.

Of course, Portnov had no clue about what he was releasing, and how this conversation was being taped—he simply put whatever he was given on the Internet. That’s why at one point he said that Hryshchenko’s vis-à-vis was an officer of the First Division of the Fourth Office of the CID, on another occasion he called him an officer of the First Division of the Fifth Office of the CID. First, he called him Andriy Omelchenko, then he called him Igor. Moreover, Portnov received a fully edited video from the MIA of Ukraine, with a frame in Ukrainian and a correspondingly edited sound file. But the conversation itself is simply spectacular—an SSU officer instructs his detained agent to obstruct the investigation of the case of Sheremet’s murder. Furthermore, the Dzerzhinsky’s great-grandson assured the detained repeater that in order to pressure the investigation of the “Sheremet’s case,” the SSU would “instigate the activists, bloody veterans… would make enough trouble for reporters not to let go of this shit, for it to be on everyone’s lips.”

On January 15, 2021 Igor Makar, a former officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus, visited Kyiv at the invitation of the National Police of Ukraine, was interrogated as a witness in the “Sheremet’s case,” and gave testimony to the “Belarusian lead” in the reporter’s murder. But this begs a question: if the explosive under Alyona Prytula’s car had been planted following the orders of the Belarusian dictator, how come it were officers of the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU and their agents who were organizers and perpetrators of this crime?

That the “counters” (i.e. operative officers of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU) were able to murder anyone, let alone Sheremet, raises no doubts—the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence Department is a very peculiar unit of the SSU, mentions of which make even desperate scoundrels from the Main Department K of the SSU tick. But if the top leadership of Belarus ordered the crime, this means that the SSU officers, whose “aids” ended up in the dock for planting the explosive under Prytula’s car, had been recruited by the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus.

On the other hand, if the investigation is mistaken, the SSU agents are not involved in Sheremet’s murder, and innocent people are sitting in the dock, the picture is not much better—in that case, as it turns out, the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU is failing to perform its duties, and instead, foreign intelligence is working in Ukraine unhindered.

However, there exists a third option, when both cases are valid: SSU officers are working for their foreign handlers, and at the same time the Ukrainian counterintelligence is incompetent.

Land Boatswain

People who are following the vigorous corruption activities of the officers from the Security Service of Ukraine were surprised by the information about the “Belarusian lead.” Suffice it to recall that several hours prior to his death, on the night of July 19, 2016 Pavlo Sheremet met with such a colorful character as Sergey Korotkykh (a.k.a. “Botsman” (“boatswain”) and “Malyuta”). Moreover, the latter was accompanied by a then Ukrainian MP Andriy Biletskyi. Those who personally know Biletskyi can confirm that something extraordinary must have happened for the “leader of the white race” to have a meeting late at night.

And one can talk about Sergey Arkadiyevich Korotkykh for hours without getting bored. Born in 1974 in Russian Tolyatti, the future “Botsman” moved with his parents to Belarus, where in 1994, after serving in the army, he entered the school of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus. In two years, Korotkykh was expelled from this educational facility and lost his officer certification. However, he didn’t leave the service and joined the Nazi organization called Russian National Unity, where he headed a security unit of the Belarus regional organization. He was referred to the RNU by Valery Ignatovich, a former officer of the Almaz police squad, who in 2002 was convicted for murdering a reporter Dzmitry Zavadski.

A noteworthy detail—Zavadski was kidnapped and murdered on July 7, 2000 when he was driving in his car to Minsk-2 airport to meet Pavlo Sheremet. Later on, Sheremet testified as a witness in Ignatovich and his accomplice Dzmitry Malik’s trial (the latter was also from the Almaz police squad), where he told that, as far as he knew, before his death, Zavadski had been tortured, his back broken, and his body hidden (it is missing to this date), and that this had been done following Lukashenko’s orders.

In the meantime, Korotkykh continued his “civil and political” activities, whose main line was offering forced security services (in other words, extortion) at markets, transporting stolen cars from abroad, and providing security for units of the Russian Orthodox Church. Upon moving to Russia, Korotkykh became a co-founder and one of the leaders of the National Socialist Society. In 2010, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation banned NSS, and many Nazis ended up behind bars. And before that, in 2009, the court convicted a Maxim Martsinkevich (a.k.a. “Tiesak,” or “cleaver”), together with whom Korotkykh allegedly murdered a Dagestani Shamil Adamonov and an unidentified Tajik national in 2007 (according to an Israeli director Vladi Antonevicz, Korotkykh committed this murder following instructions of Russian intelligence in order to coerce the head of the NSS Dmitry Rumyantsev, present at the scene of the crime, into collaborating with the FSB). Nevertheless, Russian law enforcement didn’t touch Korotkykh. Furthermore, when in February of 2013 Korotkykh and Martsinkevich, who had gotten out by that time, were detained for attacking Belarusian antifascists (Korotkykh stabbed his opponents during the fight), they were set free after 10 days, and the case was closed.

Sergey Korotkykh receives final instructions from Denis Loginov before his visit to Ukraine in 2014

Naturally, when the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out, such an outstanding character as Korotkykh couldn’t miss the opportunity to show up on the Ukrainian territory. In this photo, Sergey Arkadiyevich receives final instructions before his visit to Ukraine from Denis Loginov—a Major with the Centre for Combating Extremism of the Main Division of the MIA of the RF in Moscow—who was responsible for operational developments within right-wing community and simultaneously headed the interregional division of the Restruct movement, established by Nazi Martsinkevich (by the way, Denis Loginov’s father, Andrey Loginov, at the time of this photo was a Deputy Head of the Apparatus of the Government of the Russian Federation, and as of July 20, 2020 he is a Deputy Minister of Justice of the RF).

In the spring of 2014, Korotkykh came to Ukraine where he joined the “white leader” Andriy Biletskyi. After only a few months, Korotkykh became a multimillionaire, owned luxury cars and even a private jet, and was part of numerous controversies; it was alleged that he organized flows of smuggled goods, participated in murders and robberies in the combat zone, and collaborated with Russian and Belarusian intelligence. However, no controversies prevented Petro Poroshenko from awarding “Botsman” with a Ukrainian national ID in December of 2014 (despite the fact that Korotkykh never renounced his Belarusian citizenship).

In the following year of 2015, Russian Nazi “Botsman” successfully passed a background check by the SSU, gained access to state secrets, and was appointed a Head of the Division of Protection of Strategic Facilities of the Department of State Security Service of the MIA of Ukraine. By the way, Korotkykh got access to state secrets not in the least thanks to the “Biden’s personal driver” Valeriy Kondratiuk, who at that time was a Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU. Interestingly, granting “Botsman” Ukrainian citizenship was applauded by Belarusian Partisan website created by Sheremet.

Nevertheless, “Botsman’s” relationships with the SSU were mixed; at least “Botsman” never became a jewel in the crown of the Department of Protection of National Statehood like Dmytro Yarosh, Ilya Kyva, or an “activist” from Odesa Serhiy Sternenko. Moreover, in May of 2017, a scandal broke, when the so-called reporters, confidants of the U.S. intelligence, announced that at night, a couple of hours prior to his murder, Sheremet had been under visual surveillance by at least two crews of SSU officers; at that, they could even identify one of the “stompers” (i.e. field agents), namely Igor Ustymenko from the Department of Operational Documentation of the SSU. The SSU quickly moved to refute this information—allegedly, Ustymenko quit the SSU even in April of 2014. But the scandal kept unraveling, and then the SSU unofficially explained that, yes, they were following, but it was not Sheremet being followed but rather Korotkykh, with whom Sheremet met on the night of July 20, 2016…

However, even this version of why Dzerzhinsky’s great-grandchildren showed up outside Ukrayinska Pravda’s owner’s window while the explosive was being planted under her car begs the question. External surveillance either of Sheremet or of “Botsman,” or of the crime’s perpetrators was being carried out using private cars (actually, this is why it became possible to identify an SSU officer—one of the Bellingcat investigative group members used a license plate number to track down a certain Nataliia Zaretska, a car owner, who claimed to have bought the car for Igor Ustymenko). And this means that the visual surveillance was being conducted illegally, without using specialized vehicles, without proper clearance at the Department of Operational Documentation of the SSU, and without authorization by an investigative judge of the court of appeal. In other words, it was done either by private request, or by request of the foreign intelligence.

Governor General

It is not “Botsman” and his allies who are currently sitting in the dock on the charge of Pavlo Sheremet’s murder, but people dubbed by the investigation as the agents of the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence Department of the Security Service of Ukraine, namely, Andriy Antonenko, Yana Dugar, and Yuliia Kuzmenko. According to Anton Herashchenko, the deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, and to Facebook messages of Artem Shevchenko, a Director of the Communications Department of the MIA of Ukraine, counterintelligence officers used Antonenko, Dugar, and Kuzmenko as mere pawns—the perpetrators were thinking they were planting an explosive under a car of a Russian spy. At least on February 1, 2020 Vasilisa Mazurchuk—a wife of an officer of the First Division of the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU—published on her Facebook page her exchange with Artem Shevchenko. In her messages, Ms. Vasilisa complained that the National Police leaked through the blogger and activist Portnov a taped conversation between her and Vladyslav Hryshchenko’s wife (also detained on suspicion of planting an explosive under a car of a businessman from Ivano-Frankivsk). In response, Shevchenko explained that “your friends, operatives-counters, fucked up, dragged the guys into a wet job, and now we’re supposed to investigate—what the hell?”

  • Artem Shevchenko: Vasilisa, who cares what Portnov’s posting, why do you blame me? And what precisely do you want from me?
  • Vasilisa Mazurchuk: You’ve got nothing to do with this. It’s just that you started this whole circus with your briefing, and now he’s touring around. And it’s clear who was taping her. You yourselves turn volunteers into “sacrificial victims.” With Portnov’s hands.
  • Artem Shevchenko: Your friends, operatives-counters, fucked up, dragged the guys into a wet job, and now we’re supposed to investigate—what the hell? You ought to be investigating your own dirt—reclassify it as a terrorist act (Article 258) and get going. But no, let the policemen suffer and get fucking beaten by the reporters for the cold “Sheremet’s case,” and we will tell Bucha and Puma how to keep this under wraps. Vasia, I don’t want to polemize.
  • Artem Shevchenko: But we aren’t making anyone look like anything—the police is simply investigating Sheremet’s murder. Let Yulia and Andriy speak the truth—who and under what pretense put them up to whacking this Russian agent Sheremet, screw him, and that’s all. Even though they didn’t know whom and why in fact they were going to do in.

But in this case the motives of the crime’s perpetrators remain unclear. Why would the officers of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU need to complete the tasks from the Belarusian counterparts and terminate Sheremet using the agents of the Fifth Office of the CID of the SSU?

If we assume (and this assumption seems quite natural after the taped conversation of the former Head of the SSC of Belarus had been published) that the Belarusian intelligence recruited Ukrainian counterintelligence officers, then a senior official should have been the “mole,” definitely not an ordinary operative officer—someone on the level of a head of an office or even of a department of the SSU.

At the time of Sheremet’s death, the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU was headed by Oleksiy Gennadiyovych Petrov, and the Office itself was established (at least in its current form) at Petrov’s initiative to organize murders and acts of sabotage on the uncontrolled territory. However, that was the official purpose, but unofficially Petrov’s boys, just like the Security Service of Ukraine itself, were involved in creating and catering to criminal business schemes and organizing bloody provocations. Which is not surprising, as in 2010–2012, Petrov was a Deputy Head of the Department at the Main Office of the SSU in Kyiv and Kyiv Region, which was providing the “counterintelligence protection of public interests in the field of economic security.”

But in 2012, Oleksiy Gennadiyovych had to quit this high-paying job and for the following two years he’d been twiddling his thumbs as an active reserve officer at Ukrenergo NPC and the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction. This was due to the scandal that erupted after a banker and swindler Pavlo Borulko, having fled from Ukraine to Belarus, claimed during the interrogation at the SSC of the RB that he had passed $2 million to Petrov in exchange for ending criminal case 600 under investigation by the Main Investigation Department of the SSU.

To get back to operational activities, in spring of 2014 Oleksiy Petrov joined the Center for Special Operations A as a Deputy Head of the “Shaitan battalion,” a Sixth Office of the CSO A led by that very Valeriy Shaitanov who on April 14, 2020 was arrested by officers of that same Counterintelligence Department of the SSU on suspicion of treason and working for the intelligence of the Russian Federation. At that time, amid the turmoil caused by the start of Russian aggression, Alpha was involved in Anti-Terrorist Operation, and it accepted everyone, including blind, crippled, and compromised.

Shortly afterwards Vasyl Hrytsak, a then Chief of the ATO, convinced Poroshenko to authorize establishing a special office at the SSU led by Petrov that would conduct murders behind enemy lines. It is this very office that is attributed by the patriotically preoccupied community with terminating terrorist leaders Givi, Motorola, and Zakharchenko, leaving out the question as to why that was necessary in the first place. Who cared about terminating Motorola—an infamous car washer from Rostov named Arsen Pavlov, a terror of the residents of occupied Donetsk—and turning him into a “Novorossiya hero”? If the patriotically preoccupied community thinks that Ukraine benefited from replacing infamous characters akin to Pavlov with the more respectable and almost not tainted with blood “representatives of the people of Donetsk”—they are bitterly mistaken. If anyone could benefit from such murders, carried out by the Fifth Office of the CID of the SSU, it is Russian political establishment.

Anyway, the Fifth Office of the CID of the SSU provided hefty benefits—materially speaking—to the officers of the Security Service of Ukraine itself. Because, you see, operational activities (especially in such an important area) require certain expenditures, and the budgetary funds don’t even cover the gifts for especially valuable agents of the Department of Protection of National Statehood, let alone agents of the “counters.” Therefore, the Head of the SSU Hrytsak—purely on patriotic grounds—allowed the Fifth Office of the CID to earn fresh money using all kinds of criminal schemes, given that some of the money would be used for operational needs. Numerous scandals followed as a result of ceaseless commercial activities of the “counters,” which were linked to involvement of the officers of the Fifth Office of the CID (predominantly Oleksandr Poklad) to murders on the controlled territory, organizing bloody provocations, tortures and kidnaps.

In February of 2017, already after Sheremet had been murdered, Petrov got a promotion and became a Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU, where he became known for big provocations such as the “case of Savchenko and Ruban” or the staged murder of Arkady Babchenko, a former Russian reporter and currently an actor with the SSU. As for the Fifth Office of the CID, Petrov’s confidents assumed top positions there: Roman Chervinskyi became a Head of the Office, whereas Oleksandr Poklad and Maksym Propov became his deputies. In April of 2020, significant events took place—an SSU Major General Valeriy Shaitanov, Petrov’s former supervisor and patron, was detained; Petrov got ousted from the SSU for good and was appointed a Head of Zakarpattia Region State Administration; Chervinskyi also left the SSU and found a place at the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence; and Oleksandr Poklad became a Head of the Fifth Office (rumor has it that he was the one to follow Petrov’s orders and organize the blowing up of Sheremet’s car).

Already as the Head of Zakarpattia RSA, Petrov developed a passion for animation and even created a cartoon to praise his deeds.

A person who might clarify whether Sheremet really could have fallen a victim of the amiable relationships between Petrov and Belarusian intelligence is Andriy Kaluzhynskyi, a Head of the Main Detectives Department of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. It is him who currently has dirt on Petrov, which found its way to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine from Belarus. But since those materials feature not only Petrov, but also Artem Sytnyk, a former Director of the NABU who continues to illegally hold this office, it is not to be hoped for that Kaluzhynskyi finally gets to the bottom of the phonetic-acoustic examination and the recording of what sounds like Petrov’s voice. So let’s deal with these issues ourselves, without Andriy Volodymyrovych’s help.

Belarusian Partisans

After Pavlo Sheremet got killed, Alyona Prytula and her lawyer Andriy Mamalyga (rumor has it that this lawyer was assigned to her by the SSU) made quite a noise demanding to reclassify the blowing up of the car of Ukrayinska Pravda’s owner’s boyfriend as an “act of terrorism” and to assign its investigation to the Security Service of Ukraine, even though there are absolutely no signs of a terrorist act in the intentional homicide of Sheremet. Prytula stopped her yammering about the “act of terrorism” after a meeting with Yuriy Lutsenko, a Prosecutor, for Christ’s sake, General. He knew perfectly well that the SSC of the Republic of Belarus possessed damning dirt on Oleksiy Gennadiyovych, the Head of the Fifth Office of the CID of the SSU, and likely explained it to Prytula that it was not advisable to change jurisdiction and transfer the case of Sheremet’s murder to the Security Service of Ukraine for investigation. You bet; it was Yuriy Vitaliyovych’s wife who in the summer of 2014 sent the taped conversation of a person sounding like Petrov to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine. At that, she got this tape and other dirt on Petrov from a person who was controlled by the Belarusian intelligence. Here’s the story.

On July 30, 2014 prosecutors of the Main Investigation Office of the Prosecutor General’s Office registered criminal proceeding 42014000000000701 regarding a crime set out in Part 4 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, i.e. “Receiving a bribe in especially great amount or by an authorized person in an especially responsible position.” This criminal proceeding was registered on the grounds of a complaint by Iryna Stepanivna Lutsenko, a future woman of the third millennium, at that time a mere Ukrainian MP, sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office on behalf of Pavlo Viktorovych Borulko.

Borulko, so much cared for by Iryna Stepanivna, is a legendary swindler known for banking scams and involvement in murdering of a Police Colonel Roman Yerokhin, who was opening conversion centers under the patronage of a then Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko. Borulko was born in 1975 in Kostiantynivka in Donetsk Region. In the late 80s, his father became a director of the Kostiantynivka Glassworks Factory Scientific and Production Association (which was put out of business by Borulko family in the 90s), and his uncle, Vitaliy Lobas, was a Deputy Head of Donetsk Region State Administration from 1996 to 2005.

The life of Pavlo Borulko is full of adventures enough for a few mystery novels. In the early 2000s he rushed into the banking business, together with Eduard Prutnyk (a former “wallet” for Yanukovych), Pavlo Klymets (Olympus vodka; in April of 2019, Klymets was arrested in Russia on charges of bribery), Oleksandr Shepeliev (a former Ukrainian MP, charged with embezzlement of Rodovidbank funds; murder of the Police Colonel Roman Yerokhin and Sergiy Kyrychenko, a head of the supervisory board of Avtokrazbank; and attempt on the life of Sergiy Dyadechko), and Sergiy Kyrychenko. Borulko’s track record features embezzlement of Interkontinentbank; scams involving correspondent accounts at European Bank, Slavutych Bank, and Volodymyrskyi Bank; withdrawing $875 million through Avtokrazbank by paying fraudulent promissory notes; embezzlement of refinancing from the National Bank to European Bank and National Standard Bank; attempt on the life of Dmytro Fomenko, a head of the supervisory board of Financial Union Bank. But Borulko always got away with his shenanigans, as his then wife Alla Mykolayivna was a close friend of a wife and a daughter of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (since November 3, 2005 to November 3, 2010) Oleksandr Medvedko (Borulko himself repeatedly claimed he’d been married to Medvedko’s niece).

After Viktor Pshonka was appointed a Prosecutor General of Ukraine on November 4, 2010, Borulko reasoned that his old wife became useless and decided to get rid of the “Medvedko’s niece” by having her murdered. Although this time around the attempt was not successful, Medvedko complained to Pshonka, and Borulko’s luck has turned for the worse. Criminal cases where he was a participant were reopened, and the Main Investigation Department of the SSU started investigating case 600 regarding Borulko’s and Shepeliev’s embezzlement of UAH 315 million worth of a stabilizing loan issued by the National Bank of Ukraine.

And then, in October of 2011, Borulko entered, on behalf of his wife, into a legal aid agreement with the Legal Guarantees law firm, whose founder was Yuriy Haisynskyi and whose junior partner at the time was a newly admitted Artem Sytnyk, a former head of the investigations division of the Prosecutor of Kyiv Region’s Office (in a year, in October of 2012, Sytnyk was already a managing partner and a manager at this law firm). Subsequently, Sytnyk used to claim that he quit the prosecutor’s office in protest of Yanukovytch’s assuming power. However, Yanukovytch was sworn in as a President in February of 2010, and Artem Sergiyovych quit “in protest” only in August of 2011. Word is that Artem Sergiyovych filed a resignation letter after a then Prosecutor of Kyiv Region Mykhailo Vytiaz found out that the head of the investigations division Artem Sytnyk, together with a godfather of his child Andriy Kaluzhynskyi, sold an exhibit, an Audi detained in a criminal case—and didn’t share any money with the superiors.

This was a very careful choice of lawyers because, since March of 2010, the Main Investigation Department of the SSU, which was investigating case 600, had been headed by Ivan Derevyanko, a longtime ally of Haisynskyi and a former Deputy Prosecutor of Kyiv Region. Borulko was trying to pass a bribe to him through Haisynskyi and Sytnyk in exchange for closing the case. But, Borulko didn’t take into account that Haisynskyi and Medvedko were worst enemies, and Haisynskyi was in no way inclined to do any favors for a “husband of the niece” of the former prosecutor.

Thus it’s not at all surprising that in December of 2011, the court ordered to arrest Borulko; but Pavlo Viktorovych, together with his lover Nataliia Rychkova, was already in Belarus at that time, under protection of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus. Immediately afterwards, Volodymyr Bik, a Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU, sent a group of officers led by Sergiy Vorotniuk (by the way, Colonel Vorotniuk is a husband of Yulia Laputina, appointed on December 18, 2020 a Minister for Veterans Affairs; both Vorotniuk and Laputina owe their careers in the SSU to the former Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU Volodymyr Bik, who was charged with treason in 2014 and who spent 3 years in a detention facility), but they could meet with the swindler only at the Gomel Region Office of the State Security Committee, and sure enough they had to leave empty-handed.

This is, by the way, what Yulia Laputina’s husband told in 2014 at the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine during interrogation:

The interrogated, the special assignments officer of the SSU Vorotniuk, S.G., testified that in December of 2011, by the order of the management of the Department (Bik, V.), he was sent to the Republic of Belarus. His goal was to bring back to Ukraine a Borulko, P.V., who is criminal detained on the Belarusian territory. He was accompanied by a driver Kindras, S.V., and a detective from the Mykolaiv Office of the SSU. Having arrived in Belarus, they went to the Office of the State Security Committee in Gomel. There, he saw Borulko, P.V., for the first time. Immediately, a conversation took place between the detective and Borulko, P.V. The latter told that he was being illegally prosecuted, and the detective replied that he needed to look into all of that, which is why he was conducting the investigation.

Later, the SSC officers informed that Borulko, P.V., expressed a desire to voluntarily go to Ukraine without waiting for extradition. After doing necessary paperwork, they went to the Nova Huta checkpoint, where they switched to their own car, together with Borulko, P.V. At the first security check, Borulko, P.V., who was sitting in the back seat, suddenly sprang out of the car and ran towards the officers of the Belarusian checkpoint, shouting that his leg had been broken, that he had been being killed. Once all the circumstances were clarified, Borulko, P.V., was taken to a hospital. The following day he was instructed by his superiors to return to Ukraine, without Borulko, P.V.

Negotiations with the Belarusian side, held by a group of prosecutors of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine led by Yuriy Viytiev, a Head of the Main Office of Military Prosecutor Offices of the PGOU, were similarly unsuccessful—on April 11, 2012 the Republic of Belarus officially refused to extradite Pavlo Borulko to Ukraine.

A curious detail: the conversation in the office of the head of the SSC of the RB Zaitsev, in which the Sheremet’s murder was discussed, took place on the same day when the Belarusian side (i.e. the SSC of the RB) informed Ukraine that Borulko was granted asylum. This begs the natural question: how valuable to Belarusian intelligence was a Ukrainian swindler that belonged in prison? The answer is obvious: Borulko became a priceless source of shocking information to be used in the operational activities and for recruiting Ukrainian officials. Moreover, there is every reason to assume that Borulko’s collaboration with Belarusian (Russian) intelligence goes back a long way.

In 2014, as a result of some operational activities, Belarusian handlers decided to make Pavlo Borulko a Ukrainian MP—obviously, hoping to take advantage of the chaos that reigned on Kyiv hills after the criminal regime of Yanukovych was toppled and the people’s regime of Poroshenko prevailed. To that end, Borulko assumed a name of Rychkov, the last name of his new wife, retroactively registered himself in occupied Feodosiya, and on September 10, 2014 received a new national ID, on the basis of which on September 30, 2014 the Central Election Commission registered him a candidate for Parliament for the snap Ukrainian Parliamentary elections of October 26, 2014.

To be on the safe side, in July of 2014, Borulko convinced Iryna Lutsenko—a person close to a newly elected President Poroshenko—to send a complaint to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine describing the miseries of Pavlo Viktorovych Borulko. Allegedly, he didn’t commit any crimes but fell a victim of extortion by Ivan Derevyanko, the former Head of the Main Investigation Department of the SSU. Iryna Stepanivna attached Borulko’s letter to her complaint. In this letter, he claimed that he was forced to pass $2 million to the Main Investigation Department of the SSU for closing a criminal proceeding. Borulko supposedly passed the money through Haisynskyi and an SSU officer named Petrov, and also through a deposit box in Radical Bank, where a Borulko’s aid, Tanadzhy, put the money together with an SSU officer named Kiril.

On the grounds of Iryna Lutsenko’s complaint, the Prosecutor General’s Office registered a criminal proceeding, but this didn’t help Borulko become the Ukrainian MP — on October 7, 2014 the Central Election Commission revoked his registration. So Borulko’s handlers found another job for him—Pavlo Viktorovych moved to Moscow, where he blended in the group of Vladislav Surkov, a President Putin’s aid responsible for Russia-Ukraine relations and supervising the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

Investigation of the criminal proceeding regarding alleged extortion of money from Borulko also turned out fruitless: witnesses called for by the “victim” testified during interrogation that they knew nothing about it—among them the Borulko’s aid Tanadzhy, who allegedly put the money into the deposit box, and Borulko’s ex-wife. As for Oleksiy Petrov, the future Head of the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence of the SSU, he explained during the interrogation that he never even met Borulko. Here’s what the criminal proceeding files have to say about this:

Petrov, O.G., the Deputy Head of the Sixth Office of the CSO A of the SSU, interrogated as a witness, testified that in 2010–2012 he had been working as a Deputy Head of the Department of Counterintelligence Protection of the National Economy of the Main Office of the SSU in Kyiv and Kyiv Region. Subsequently, he was placed at the disposal, and after some time, became an active reserve officer of the Department of Counterintelligence Protection of the National Economy of the SSU with a simultaneous position of a Deputy Director for Security at Ukrenergo NPC. Subsequently, he was appointed a Head of the Division of the Energy Security of the Department of Counterintelligence Protection of the National Economy of the SSU, where he had been working for more than a year. Subsequently, he was appointed an active reserve officer at the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction, where he had been working until 2014. He knows about Borulko, P.V., and him being prosecuted from the media. He knows Derevyanko, I.M., as the Head of the Main Investigation Department of the SSU, maintains working relations; he knows Pshonka, V.P., as the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. He doesn’t know a person named Haisynskyi, Y.O. Also Petrov, O.G., doesn’t know persons named Antonets, K.V., Matkovskyi, Y.O., Tanadzhy, G.G. Regarding complaints by Borulko, P.V., that the latter was being extorted money as a bribe for ending a criminal proceeding against him and closing a criminal case regarding embezzlement of the Fund’s money, he cannot testify anything, he knows nothing about that.

Unlike Petrov, Yuriy Haisynskyi didn’t deny knowing Borulko, but he also claimed that he returned the money received from Borulko for closing the criminal case and refused to act as a middleman. To quote the files of criminal proceeding 42014000000000701 registered on the basis of Iryna Lutsenko’s complaint:

An interrogated Haisynskyi, Y.O., testified that since 2008 he’s been practicing as an attorney. In 2010–2011, the office of the Legal Guarantees law firm, where he’s working, was located at 61/11 Volodymyrska St., Apt. 43 in Kyiv. For the first time, he met Borulko, P.V., in 2010… In the summer of 2011, Borulko, P.V., met with Haisynskyi, Y.O., in the latter’s office. He asked for protection for him and his wife, a Borulko A.M. Borulko, P.V., agreed to enter into a legal aid agreement, but it had to be signed by his wife. On October 5, 2011 Borulko, A.M., signed a legal aid agreement with the Legal Guarantees law firm and transferred the appropriate payment from her banking account to that of the firm. In fall and winter of 2011, Haisynskyi, Y.O., together with the lawyers of his firm, provided legal aid to Borulko, A.M., and Borulko, P.V., in the form of guidance and counselling, and also represented Borulko, P.V., in courts and law enforcement agencies; at the same time, they didn’t directly participate in investigative actions within criminal cases, in which Borulko, P.V., was suspect…

After one of the conversations that took place in November–December of 2010, Borulko, P.V., left a bag in the office of Haisynskyi, Y.O., with $500,000 in it. Haisynskyi, Y.O., noticed this bag only after Borulko, P.V., had gone. That same day he returned and told that he was giving this money to Haisynskyi, Y.O., for “solving the issue of closing criminal case 600 under Paragraph 2 of Article 6 of the Criminal Proceedings Code of Ukraine, with the files of the criminal case to be left at the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine.” To be more precise, Borulko P.V., instead of saying this, handed a piece of paper with the given text printed. At that, he told that he didn’t need lawyers, as he himself was a former prosecutor, but that he needed a middleman “of such a level that he personally knew high ranking officials at the SSU and PSOG and was appropriately respected.” Haisynskyi, Y.O., refused to serve a middleman role as proposed and suggested that Borulko, P.V., enter into a legal aid agreement with the law firm. Borulko, P.V., refused to sign the agreement, and Haisynskyi, Y.O., refused to “lobby” and returned $500,000 to Borulko, P.V. After that incident, no one gave him any money regarding this criminal case.

It would seem the case could now be closed—the investigation uncovered no evidence of Borulko passing money to the SSU through Petrov. But Borulko, i.e. the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus that was behind him, handed an optical disc to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine with two conversations—one audio record was titled Borulko: in conversation with Haisynskyi,

and the other one was titled Borulko and Petrov from the SSU,

Yuriy Oleksandrovych Haisynskyi was going to interrogations at the Prosecutor General’s Office together with his lawyer Artem Sytnyk, the manager of the Legal Guarantees law firm, of which Borulko was a client in 2011. Artem Sergiyovych had no choice but to admit that the voice on the Borulko: in conversation with Haisynskyi record belonged to Haisynskyi. However, according to Sytnyk, the conversation was twisted and edited to cast a shadow on his senior business partner. But the forensic phonetic-acoustic examination found that Sytnyk had lied—according to expert report 19/13-94 of 11/21/2014, conversations on the audio records titled Borulko: in conversation with Haisynskyi and Borulko and Petrov from the SSU, written on the optical disc, were untampered with.

Therefore, the investigation had no problems with identifying Haisynskyi’s voice. As for Petrov, the detective, having recorded Petrov’s voice during interrogation at the Prosecutor General’s Office, ordered a forensic phonetic-acoustic examination. But the results are yet to come—first, an expert of the Kyiv Scientific Research Forensic Center of the MIA of Ukraine asked for additional samples of Oleksiy Gennadiyovych’s voice. But Petrov didn’t show up for interrogation—the management of the SSU explained that the Head of the Sixth Office of the CSO A was in the ATO area, and it was impossible to summon him. Finally, the expert concluded that it was impossible neither to confirm nor to deny that Petrov’s voice was present on the Borulko and Petrov from the SSU audio record, allegedly because of external sounds heard on the video tape with Petrov’s interrogation at the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Then the detective ordered a second examination and sent the audio files to the Hon. Prof. M. S. Bokarius Kharkiv Research Institute of Forensic Examinations. The expert report was supposed to come in in late May of 2019. By that time, Petrov had already ended being the Head of the Fifth Office of the CID of the SSU and moved to the position of the Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU, having solved the “Babchenko’s murder” and the “armed rebellion” of Nadiya Savchenko in the process. So, no wonder that since November of 2017, Yuriy Lutsenko—the husband of Iryna Lutsenko, based on whose complaint criminal proceeding 42014000000000310 was registered, appointed on May 12, 2016 a Prosecutor General—started seeking to transfer the case to the NABU. On November 14, 2017 Yuriy Vitaliyovych transferred the case, in which Sytnyk was featured as a potential suspect’s attorney, to Sytnyk himself for investigation. But the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office disagreed, and Olha Yarova, a Head of the Fifth Division of the SAPO, sent the case back, to the Department of Special Investigations of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Then, on February 15, 2018 the Prosecutor, for Christ’s sake, General personally added a record to the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations that changed the pre-trial investigation agency and sent the case to Sytnyk for the second time. However, Lutsenko’s deputy Nazar Kholodnytskyi, the Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, disagreed. But Yuriy Vitaliyovych wouldn’t budge, and finally had his way and buried the criminal proceeding at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, without waiting for the forensic phonetic-acoustic examination of the audio record sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office by the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus, with a recorded conversation featuring the officer of the SSU whose agents are currently being charged with Sheremet’s murder by order of the Belarusian SSC.

Your request to receive information about the pre-trial investigation in criminal proceeding 42014000000000701 of 7/30/2014 was reviewed.

We would like to inform you that according to the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine is conducting the pre-trial investigation in criminal proceeding 42014000000000701 of 7/30/2014 regarding the criminal offence under Part 4 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

The pre-trial investigation in the mentioned criminal proceeding goes on.

At the same time we would like to inform you that the grounds for registering this criminal proceeding in the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations, as well as its factual details do not match the data contained in your request for public information.

Head of the Division of Requests for Public Information    M. Burdeina

Questions Without Answers

After the recorded conversation that took place on April 11, 2012 in the office of Vadim Zaitsev, a then Head of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus, got published, several questions inevitably arise.

First, do the Belarusian and Russian intelligence recognize the opportunities for operational activities that opened for them because of “Botsman” living in Ukraine? If yes, did they try to seize these opportunities? If they did, where, when, and how?

Second, did the Belarusian and Russian intelligence use the dirt on Oleksiy Petrov, the former Head of the Fifth Office, and subsequently the Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU, in their operational activities? What other dirt on Petrov, aside from this conversation with Borulko, are at the disposal of hostile intelligence, and how thoroughly are they monitoring activities of the Fifth Office of the CID of the SSU on the controlled territory of Ukraine?

Answers to these questions would without a doubt clarify the “Sheremet’s case” as well, at least they would make it clear if the people sitting in the dock are real perpetrators of the crime, and if the foreign intelligence was able to order the reporter killed, with the help of the generals from the SSU. But it is impossible to verify this theory—for that, one would need to seize files of the current and former agents of the Counterintelligence Department that contacted Andriy Antonenko, Yuliia Kuzmenko, and Yana Dugar. Naturally, no one would let detectives of the National Police anywhere near those files, and Lieutenant Bakanov refused to conduct an internal investigation.

Likewise, it is currently impossible to find out whether Oleksiy Petrov, the former Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU and now the Head of Zakarpattia Region Council, is involved in this murder.

If we assume that Sheremet (who prior to his death flew to Moscow for negotiations with Borulko’s old friend Oleksandr Klymenko) was given materials about a special bond between Borulko and Petrov for publication, then we will be able to explain not only Sheremet’s meeting with citizen “Botsman,” i.e. Sergey Korotkykh, that took place under surveillance of the crews of the Department of Operational Documentation of the SSU just a couple of hours prior to his death. In addition, the motive for the murder will become clear as well—namely, to show to colleagues from the SSC of the Republic of Belarus what happens to those being used to blackmail the Head of the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence Department of the Security Service of Ukraine.

That said, it is impossible not only to verify this assumption, but even to finish the phonetic-acoustic examination of the recorded conversation between Borulko and Petrov, that the Belarusian SSC passed through Borulko to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine—the audio record, as well as the criminal proceeding files, remain at the NABU, under the supervision of the former attorney Sytnyk, who was a participant of that criminal proceeding and represented Yuriy Haisynskyi.

It is worth noting that when Oleksandr Babikov was appointed a First Deputy Director of the State Bureau of Investigations, professional civil activists made a lot of fuss claiming that Babikov needed to be fired—see, he used to work at a law firm that provided legal aid to citizen Yanukovych. And since now the SBI is investigating a criminal proceeding regarding shenanigans of this “strong manager,” Babikov presumably cannot work at this agency due to conflicts of interest (even though Babikov himself never was a Yanukovych’s attorney and never participated in the criminal proceeding regarding the fourth president). Setting professional civil activists aside, even Oleksandr Novikov, a Head of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, claimed that Babikov had to be sacked from the SBI.

But the NACP sees nothing unusual about the NABU “investigating” the criminal proceeding, in which Sytnyk is featured as the attorney and the partner of the law firm hired by the potential suspect. Oleksandr Fedorovych Novikov is silent, professional civil activists are silent. Alyona Prytula is silent, whose car was blown up on July 20, 2016. Because silence is golden…

As for Artem Sergiyovych’s handlers from the U.S. intelligence, they should’ve thought more carefully before giving the green light to publishing the recorded conversation that took place on April 11, 2012 in the office of Vadim Zaitsev, the then Head of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus. Because now the questions arise addressed not only to the former Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU but also to the self-proclaimed Director of the NABU.

Володимир Бойко

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