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 YEVHEN PANOV’S DISAPPEARANCE: WHAT SHOULD BE LEARNT FROM THE STORY OF THE MAN WHO HAD BEEN FORCIBLY TAKEN TO RUSSIAN-OCCUPIED CRIMEA AND BLAMED OF ‘TERRORISM’?

UN Commissioners, human rights activists, everyone who fantasizes on SBU tortures – why are you not yet in Crimea, striving to help Yevhen Panov? He has no legal assistance, and his rights are being violated!

These are my thoughts on the issue:

1. Anything Russia says does not matter much for global public opinion - at the moment, everyone is waiting for Ukraine's official statement. But the reaction should be instantaneous, because informational network sponsored by Moscow is belching lies. We should and we can win this information war.

2. Relatives of Yevhen Panov said he had been kidnapped from Ukrainian territory. The National Police should open a criminal investigation into the fact immediately. … The motive behind the crime is obvious - although there are many Ukrainian citizens in Crimea, the Russian intelligence agencies needed an anti-terrorist operation (ATO) participant, volunteer, former soldier, Self-Defense forces activist.

3. Hey, UN Commissioners, hey, human rights activists, everyone who fantasizes on SBU tortures - why are you not yet in Crimea, striving to help Yevhen Panov? He has no legal assistance, and his rights are being violated!

Ukraine should immediately protest against illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens on Ukraine's territory and falsification of another criminal investigation. It's been three days since Yevhen Panov was captured, and he has not been granted a lawyer, he must be tortured and pressured to give required testimony.

Panov has been definitely kidnapped! For he is on Ukrainian territory, although temporarily occupied, and Crimea is recognized as Ukrainian territory by EVERY state of the world. DETENTION OF UKRAINIAN CITIZENS IN CRIMEA IS TERRORISM OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION.

4. The state of Ukraine should express support to Panov's family. Whatever he said in Putin chekists' torture chambers could have been kicked out of him. And we need to listen to Yevhen's family now. If he left [the mainland Ukraine - ed.] officially and it has been recorded, it's one thing. But if investigation shows there are no records of his travel across the border, then he had been definitely kidnapped. … I hope that SBU and Border Guard Service find it out fast and make right conclusions from the situation. … It's important for us not what they kick out of Panov, but what his friends and relatives say, together with state border service data. No other criteria could be used for assessment of the situation! We should not use any statements by Russian media - the opinion of the enemy is of no interest to us.

5. Russia has many times kidnapped foreign citizens on foreign territory for falsified investigations. Film director Oleh Sentsov was kidnapped in Crimea, and all allegations against him are just made up, but he had been convicted for an attempt to blast Crimea.

Here is a special news section by Censor.NET titled "Ukrainian hostages in Russia," where you can read about what those people are going through.

6. On Sept. 5, 2014, Russian authorities kidnapped Estonian security service officer Eston Kohver. He was accused of crossing Russian border for espionage purposes. Kohver was convicted and exchanged a year later for a Russian spy captured in Estonia. Panov's case resembles that of Kohver very much. Kohver's case stirred indignation and disapproval within the EU.

I hope that in this case, the EU will show its principal stance and voice its support for the kidnapped people.

7. Russia intends to use this situation to discredit Ukraine. Putin needs it for:

a) frustration of peace talks on ending the war;
b) showing that Ukraine is a source of instability, that the state does not control the situation, and to achieve the easing of sanctions as the only way of de-escalation;
c) amassing more troops at the borders with Ukraine and mobilize the public opinion in Russia towards possible aggression against Ukraine;
d) achieving an advantageous exchange of Russian military criminals and terrorists held in Ukrainian prisons for newly captured hostages;
e) getting concessions from the West at talks about gas supplies to the EU and construction of gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine. But the situation could be and should be taken advantage of by Ukrainian side.

8. Due to armed Russian provocations that can trigger a large-scale war, and in order to avoid more Ukrainian citizens being captured, we need to stop any communication, entrance and exit of Ukrainian citizens to occupied Crimea through Perekop for two months, August and September. This is the only way to prevent further escalation. After that, we should consider making this temporary measure permanent.

9. MPs, human rights activists, all those who care - we need to hold a demonstration and gather signatures for the release of the Ukrainian hostage. We better do that at EU representatives' offices and the Russian consulate. Russian ambassador has not been accepted by Ukraine, so the embassy is empty.

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10. The first image shows Yevhen Panov, with traces of torture visible on his face. The second image shows his brother Ihor Kotelianets, who is in Kyiv at the moment.

Ihor's phone number is available for media - please ask. Whatever Panov is doing, however he ended up in Crimea - he is a citizen of Ukraine, he had defended the country, he had fought in the ATo with the 23rd and 37th battalions of territorial defense, and went to war as a volunteer. He is our citizen. He should be held accountable in Ukraine. We hate the occupants, and their opinion means nothing for us. Our duty is to help the family of another Ukrainian hostage with anything we could.

Yurii Butusov, Censor.NET
 
 
 
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