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 Muzhenko knew militants were going to down Il-76, sent it to Luhansk anyway. DOCUMENT

Army’s Chief of Staff, General Viktor Muzhenko, anti-terrorist operation (ATO) commander in the east of Ukraine, knew that pro-Russian militants were planning to down Ukrainian military jets that left for Luhansk on June 13, 2014. However, he still sent them to the Luhansk airport.

This is reported by journalist Denys Kazanskyi in his article for "Chetverta vlada", Censor.NET informs.

As a result of this decision by Muzhenko, a military jet Il-76 crashed June 14, 2014, at night. It was downed by militants upon landing. All 49 people on board were killed.

The conclusion made by Kazanskyi is based on materials of Muzhenko's interrogations, as well as expertise materials on the catastrophe causes.

The journalist noted that the documents were given to him by the Ministry of Defense employees who wished to remain anonymous but wanted Muzhenko to be punished for killing of 49 people.

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The tragedy occurred at 1 a.m. June 14, 2014. Combat activities were starting near Luhansk at that time, and the city was controlled by Ukrainian troops. In the evening of June 13, three Il-76 planes carrying personnel, ammunition, and equipment were sent to the Luhansk airport. The first landed successfully, the second was downed wit Igla man-portable surface-to-air missile, and the third returned after learning of what happened to the second one.

Read more: 'LPR' militant, involved in AN-26 crash, detained by SBU. VIDEO

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Next day, June 15, "LPR" leader Valeriy Bolotov confirmed that he had given the order to down the plane for 'violation of the "LPR" airspace.' Ukraine's acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval announced that one of the reasons for the plane's downing was air traffic control's treason.

"Today, almost complete picture of the tragedy is known, and we can state that it was Ukrainian command's neglect of duty, not treason. Three institutions were conducting investigation simultaneously - the MoD, the prosecutor's office, and parliamentary committee of the Verkhovna Rada. On Nov. 18, 2014 the PGO charged first deputy of the ATO commander, Major General Viktor Nazarov with neglect of duty causing the Il-76's crash. Nazarov was subsequently arrested, but released on bail. The trial over Nazarov continues up to date. According to prosecution, Nazarov knew that the "LPR" armed gangs received man-portable surface-to-air systems that could down a plane, but still ordered to deliver personnel and cargo by air," the journalist wrote.

According to him, Muzhenko stated during his interrogations that information received by him from the ATO HQ daily was inaccurate by 90 percent and could not be used for conduction of the anti-terrorist operation; moreover, he said he regularly 'didn't have time' to read it.

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On June 13, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Muzhenko received two pieces of information from the ATO HQ. The reports read that "two groups of militants, armed with man-portable surface-to-air missiles, left for the Luhansk airport to down all the planes landing and taking off." At his interrogation, Muzhenko said he did not remember whether he had read these reports. In addition, he said to the investigator that this information was not worth noticing.

Answering a question about what should have been done by Major General Nazarov after learning about the militants with the missiles, Muzhenko said there was no exact algorithm of acting in similar situations.

"Having this information was not a reason for cancelling the plane flights; if having such information led to cancellation of all planned operations and redeployment of troops, we wouldn't have moved at all, for lots of similar information is received all the time," the general added.

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"If all that Muzhenko says is true, it is obvious that no one will be punished for the death of paratroopers near Luhansk - officially, neither Muzhenko, nor Nazarov violated any law or regulation, for there are none. All of the above proves that the command knew of the militants' plans, but there was no document that obliged them to react to this kind of information. As a result of this negligence, 49 people were killed," Kazanskyi wrote.

Answering the investigator's question of what might have been the reason of the catastrophe, Muzhenko said it could be the leak of the information about the planned flight, but he was not certain. It is known that since early June 2014 Luhansk militants were intercepting and listening to all radio talks of Ukrainian pilots and knew when and what flights were landing in the airport. In addition, the separatists did not conceal this information and posted it on Facebook. The interception had been organized and conducted by employees of the Luhansk regional state LOT TV channel, and in particular, its sound producer Inha Shumakova. She was posting information of Ukrainian planes' arrival to the Luhansk airport on her Facebook page. She was avidly supporting "LPR" terrorists.

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Inha Shumakova near militants-seized Luhansk SBU building in spring of 2014.

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In addition, Rodion Miroshnyk, director of the TV station, who allotted his station ' s equipment for the militants, had not been put on wanted list after 49 people were killed and continued to come to Kyiv regularly. His last confirmed visit to Kyiv was on Oct. 17, 2014, after which he returned to Luhansk and is now working there in Plotnitskyi's team (he is shown on the picture to the right from Plotnitskiy).
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"Unfortunately, the command's negligence, which led to human casualties, was punished neither with criminal charge, nor with the general's dismissal. Muzhenko, who allowed the Il-76 and its 49 passengers be killed, remained on his post and later made other decisions that caused soldiers' and officers' discontent. As reported by many people who went through Ilovaisk and Debaltseve, the miscalculations by Ukrainian army's command cost Ukraine a lot of lives," the reporter concluded.

 
 
 
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