Two armed Donbass Battalion fighters force three police officers to the floor their headquarters in Donetsk Oblast’s Velyka Novosilka on May 15. The officers had sided with Russian-backed separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
© Kostyantyn Chernichkin
The self-declared People's Republic of Donetsk and People's Republic of Luhansk have been classified as terrorist organizations, the press service of Ukraine's General Prosecutor Office said.
"We confirm the words of [Ukraine's] Justice Minister that the two so-called 'people's republics' in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are two terrorist organizations with a rigid hierarchy, financing channels and supply of weapons," First Deputy Prosecutor General in Ukraine Mykola Holomsha said.
"The so-called people's governors claimed they were acting in the interest of people in those regions, protecting them," he said. "Yet, their actions tell a very different story. Facts of the persecution of civilians in eastern Ukraine have been registered... The purpose of the creation of these organizations is to deliberately propagate violence, seize hostages, carry out subversive activity, assassination and intimidation of citizens," Holomsha said.
Ukraine's General Prosecutor Office jointly with the Security Service of Ukraine began criminal proceedings under Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code (the formation of a terrorist organization) against representatives of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. Investigators will also check the involvement of parliamentarians, deputies of local councils, officials, and other persons in the creation of the criminal organizations.
"We also instructed law enforcement agencies to turn to all related authorities for [assistance] in cutting off the financing of these terrorist organizations," Holomsha said.