Moldovan mercenaries, who fought for Ukrainian separatists, sentenced
“Lis”, “Skai”, “Plita”, “Tiger”, “Coroboc” are some of the Moldovan mercenaries, who fought in 2014 – 2017 in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Eastern Ukraine, on the side of the separatists. Some of them did it for money, others as volunteers. Back in Moldova, they were captured and tried for mercenary activities. However, most of them received suspended sentences, “sincerely repenting” of having participated in the battles.
According to the court portal data, in the period of 2015-2017, 13 Moldovan mercenaries were judged.
Admission of guilt for a suspended punishment
Most of Moldovan mercenaries, who have been judged on the basis of Art.141 of the Criminal Code, which provides for the Activity of mercenary, have been suspended, after they admitted their guilt and confessed that they damaged their health or claim they did not understand what they were doing.
Of the 13 mercenaries, only 5 were punished with execution, the maximum imprisonment term being of 3 years.
For others, even if prison terms were longer (5 years), the sentences were suspended with the ban on changing the domicile.
The punishments were different as well as the judges’ reasoning. Some considered that suspension of execution was not appropriate, while others had contradictory views, even though many of the defendants had a criminal record.
Suspension of the sentence is admissible under Art. 3641 par. (8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, when the defendant admits the imputed acts. Thus, they can benefit from a one-third reduction of the punishment.
However, some of the defendants reached the Court of Appeal, even if the hierarchical court rejected almost all of the applications.
What positions did the Moldovans have in the military formations of the separatists?
Moldovan mercenaries fought in such military formations as “1st Brigade of Slavena” in the Donetsk region, “AmpaunT” Military Insurance Battalion in Lugansk, “Vostok” detachment, “Odessa” military formation, “SMERS” Battalion in the Donetsk region, “Sparta” in Donetsk, “Motorola”, the Territorial Defense Battalion no. 15 of “Breanka” in the Lugansk region and others.
Some fought as soldiers, others supplied food, money, and materials to military units of separatists.
In court, the mercenaries said they defended the territory near the Donetsk Airport, fired machine guns at enemy’s armored cars, gathered and transmitted parcels for fighters.
A Moldovan said he propagated separatist actions on social networks to urge mercenaries to violent actions, aimed at violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine. For this purpose, he created on Facebook and Odnoklasniki the group named “bruteforceultimate”, posting messages propagating the separatism from the eastern districts of Ukraine, as well as the idea of creating the so-called “NovoRussia” by joining the Odessa region to the eastern regions of the neighboring country. On the same page, the man posted different news and information about money raising actions to help the anti-maidan group.
Those who were soldiers had suffered from various injuries.
How were Moldovan mercenaries paid?
Most of those, who fought in Ukraine said in court that they went there being unable to find a job in Russia. Through various acquaintances, Moldovans were offered to serve in the battalions of the Ukrainian separatists. Some were promised 15,000 rubles (250 dollars) per month, others 3,000 dollars, 450 dollars, 200,000 rubles (3300 dollars) or 40,000 rubles ($ 670). Others joined the separatists for ideological reasons, considering that the Government of Ukraine committed irregularities against its own people, and some of them went as volunteers.
Those who went for money said they were forced to work to repay their debts and were not influenced by anyone in their decisions.
The mercenaries said they were provided with meals three times a day and given cigarettes.
Most of them told Moldovan judges that they did not receive the promised salary.
During their service in the separatist battalions, some have also received military degrees.
The youngest mercenary that was tried is 24 years old. Some of them have criminal records, while others have been diagnosed with alcoholism. Most of them are from Transnistria, some from Ialoveni, Cimislia, Floresti, Chisinau, and a few hold the citizenship of the Russian Federation.
On their pages in social networks, they say they are born in “NovoRussia”, post photos in military uniforms, holding weapons in their hands. Some even declared in court that they did not fight de facto, but only posed in uniforms for the camera.
There are even former employees of the special destination brigade “Fulger” among them.
Information about the activities of the mercenaries was collected from the Mirotvoret (Peacekeeper) web site, which contains various information regarding the participation in the armed conflicts in Southeastern Ukraine, including photos. Also, the social platform Obozrevateli (Observer), which testifies to the crimes committed against Ukraine, was also consulted.