The Holosiivsky Court of Kyiv on Saturday, June 3, selected preventive measures for four individuals suspected of being connected to the case involving the tragic deaths of individuals near the closed shelter of the capital’s Polyclinic.
Following the tragic event on the night of June 1, when a nine-year-old girl and two women were killed by rocket debris on the street while trying to get to the closed bomb shelter in a Polyclinic nearby, it was revealed that a security guard failed to promptly open the door, resulting in severe consequences.
Police declared him a suspect the next day for placing people in a dangerous situation that ultimately led to their deaths.
In addition to the security guard, the police determined that the director of the Polyclinic, Oleg Shugalevich, his deputy Vasily Desik, and Irina Alekseenko, the first deputy chairman of the Desniansky district, share responsibility for the operation of the shelter.
The four individuals were charged with official negligence, as stated in Part 2 of Article 367 of the Criminal Code.
The most severe measure of restraint was imposed on the 62-year-old security guard, who has been remanded to jail for a period of two months.
Meanwhile, the three officials—the Polyclinic's director, his deputy for technical affairs, and an official from the Desniansky District State Administration—have been placed under house arrest.
The GRATY media outlet correspondent described the courtroom hearing.
Охоронець деснянської поліклініки Вадим Мошкін у суді розповідає про те, чому укриття було закритим під час ракетної атаки— Ґрати (@Graty_me) June 3, 2023
Відео: Олексій Арунян, Ґрати pic.twitter.com/rlYgAkHmFD
In a courtroom session, 62-year-old watchman Viktor Moshkin pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him. However, Moshkin maintained that the crime was unintentional, saying that he lacked sufficient time to open the shelter, the GRATY media outlet reported.
“An alarm sounded. I took my keys and walked down the hall. I thought I would prepare the shelter for now. I opened the door to the bomb shelter,” Moshkin said, recalling the incident.
“People started knocking on the Polyclinic’s front doors. I reached the reception desk, and then I was knocked down, and then the glass flew from above. It was terrible there.”
The prosecutor requested the court to remand Moshkin to the pre-trial detention center for the duration of the investigation. The prosecutor argued that Moshkin, if released, could potentially “influence the witnesses who are employees of the Polyclinic and possibly flee.”
When Moshkin made his plea to the court, he begged not to be placed under arrest.
“I have nowhere to hide. And where will I hide in this life?” Moshkin pleaded: “It’s like a hare running away from a wolf. The wolf will still catch up and eat it.”
Coming to Moshkin's defense, his State-provided lawyer, Viktor Shevchuk, implored the judge to consider house arrest as an alternative. Shevchuk argued that Moshkin, being a simple watchman, would not be able to influence the Polyclinic’s employees and had no means to escape.
Following a brief 10-minute recess, the judge returned to the courtroom with a decision: Moshkin would be remanded to custody for two months without the possibility of bail.
Moshkin's defense lawyer announced their intention to appeal the decision on the arrest, as reported by GRATY.
"He is just a scapegoat": a big fuss over the court decision on social media
The measure of restraint imposed on the security guard has sparked a heated debate on social media. Numerous people argue that the guard has been made a “scapegoat” in this case. They assert that the watchman is a minor figure in the incident, and the issue at hand is not confined to local circumstances but rather systemic in nature, requiring a global solution.
“The truth is that this is a systemic problem for all districts of Kyiv and not a local excess in the Desniansky district. A similar situation could have happened anywhere. Let’s remove all the heads of the Districts. Or maybe the mayor alone? Well, to reduce bureaucracy,” wrote Alina Mykhailova, a member of the Kyiv City Council.
“As I understand it, he acted according to the instructions, but this time it did not work due to an atypical attack [ballistic missile attack, rocket reaches the target in 3-5 min. - ed.]. In this case, time worked against everyone. I hope there will be a high public demand for justice and [Moshkin] will not remain the scapegoat,” Maria Shostak wrote, commenting on the court’s decision on Facebook.
“Vadim Moshkin spent this night in a pre-trial detention center. The only one who was taken into custody by the court. He pleaded guilty. Unlike the head of the district, the mayor of the city and other officials,” people's deputy Roman Hryshcuk wrote.
“The investigation will determine the degree of his guilt and responsibility. But is it fair for a security guard to be taken to custody while officials shift the blame to each other?”
“Why aren’t the one who gave the order [to close the Polyclinic at night], and the one who did not set up the system so that the shelter was opened under house arrest, [while] the security guard is in the pre-trial detention center?" TV host Kateryna Osadcha asked.
Власне, що я і казала: від тривоги до удару минули лічені хвилини, і охоронець єдиний визнав свою провину. Зате директор поліклініки, заступниця голова рда і кажуть, що вони ні при чому, намагаючись повісити все на діда. Мразі https://t.co/vLZFlCIk2i— Yuliia R (@nakhiba) June 3, 2023
“It took only a few minutes from the alarm to the blow, and the guard was the only one who admitted his guilt. But the director of the Polyclinic and the deputy chairman of the Desniansky district say they have nothing to do with the tragic incident and try to blame everything on the grandfather,” Yuliia R posted on Twitter.
President’s Office Vows to pursue justice
The President’s Office has promised to “establish justice” in response to the court’s decision regarding the closed shelter incident.
“In the capital, we will independently investigate the reasons behind this incident. It is crucial to hold all responsible individuals accountable, as everyone should understand that during times of war, full responsibility must be shouldered for one's actions,” Deputy Head of the President’s Office, Olexiy Kuleba, said, speaking during a telethon on Sunday, June 4.
Kuleba further commented, “We will thoroughly examine why such a stringent measure has been applied to the security guard. As you are aware, he is currently in pre-trial detention, while different decisions have been made for other individuals. It is essential for us to achieve complete justice and clarity in this matter.”
Kyiv shelters under inspections
In Kyiv, one-third of the city’s shelters have already been inspected following the tragic attack on June 1, Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko shared on his Telegram channel on Monday, June 5.
According to the mayor, as of Monday morning, 1,600 shelters have been checked throughout Kyiv, and the inspections are ongoing. The Ministry of Strategic Industries of Ukraine also reported that one-third of the shelters had been inspected so far, amounting to 1,849, out of which 242 could not be opened at all.
The ministry stressed that “the situation remains critical” as half of the tested shelters were unprepared.
An infographic released by the mayor's office reveals that 10 percent of the city's shelters are closed, while one-third of those accessible are in unsatisfactory condition. The Podilsky District appears to have the direst situation, with 80 percent of the available shelters rendered unusable.
Mayor Klitschko clarified that the inspections are still ongoing. The administration of districts where the conditions of bomb shelters are the worst is awaiting authorization to approach the president regarding personnel decisions.
In total, approximately Hr. 1.2 billion has been allocated from the city’s budget for shelter construction, the mayor added.
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