Journalist Yuliya Korzun Recounts How Ukrainian Radicals Threatened Her in Court

The journalist of the Ukrainian “Strana” news agency Yuliya Korzun described how she was threatened by the “support group” of Yuliya Kuzmenko at the trial in the case of journalist Pavel Sheremet. Recall that December 24th the court considered the appeal against the measure of restraint imposed on Yuliya Kuzmenko – one of the suspects in the case of the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet.

Below is Yuliya’s direct speech about the incident at the trial:

“I came to court on an editorial assignment. Near the conference room I met the ‘’ journalists Antonina Belyazov and Dmitry Kucher and said hello to them. All friends of Yuliya Kuzmenko paid attention to this and for some reason decided that I am also a ‘’ journalist.

I filmed what was happening in court and sent the news to the editorial office. For the best view I stood on a bench, and one of Kuzmenko’s friends immediately stood right in front of me, blonde (the one who in the photo who flips the bird). I filmed quietly, and she turned around and looked at me throughout the hearing. Why she took pictures of me and filmed me, I don’t know. She showed me to her friends, called me ‘Shary prostitute’, and shouted at the whole hall that I was from ‘Shary’. When I objected and said that I didn’t work for Shary and showed my ‘Strana’ editorial ID, she tried to take it out of my hands. Others shouted that ‘Strana’ is also a very bad agency from their point of view.

Meanwhile, a group of radicals headed by Sternenko (Sergey Sternenko, a well-known radical accused of killing a man) and Tsymbalyuk (Aleksey Tsymbalyuk, the so-called “killer of Babchenko”, who had previously attacked the journalist of “Strana” Vladislav Bovtruk) came to the Court of Appeal of Kiev. I was sitting in the courtroom at the time, there was a break. Another blonde (pictured in the centre) went outside with the group, then returned and announced: ‘News from the rear. There this Shary journalist, this boy, was pushed into a corner, urine was poured on him (this is about Dmitry Kucher). I told the guys there was another colleague in the room…’ And she showed me like a spotter. Everyone turned towards me. Then she said to me personally: ‘I warn, you will not leave the courtroom. One journalist of Shary was already beaten up. They are very much waiting for you’. She said I was next after Kucher. And they gave me ‘greetings’ from the radicals Sternenko and Tsymbalyuk.

After that there was still an episode with some guy who introduced himself as being from the Vsesvitno-Brovarske TV tower, I am not familiar with him and I have never seen him before. He stated that I needed a security guard, and that ‘the FSB should pay me for it’. He started to shout at all the hall that I am pro-Kremlin, that I am a FSB agent, that I am a hand of the Kremlin and that I practically drink tea with Putin himself in the evenings. ‘Instead of showing your journalistic ID, show your real FSB ID,’ he shouted to me. ‘Let’s still invite ‘Rostov’ and ‘Rossiya 1!’ I didn’t pay attention to him and I kept working quietly.

When the court announced Kuzmenko’s sentence (she was left in custody), another friend of Kuzmenko came to me and started shouting at me: ‘So, get out of here, come out, I told you!’ and started pushing me in the shoulder. This incident was captured on video.

I said I was gonna call the police. Then this woman just left. I was already talking to the police at that point, doing it clearly and loudly. It somewhat quietened Kuzmenko’s friends. However, Yuliya Kuzmenko’s mother called me ‘a nobody’. ‘Who threatened you, who cares about you, you’re nothing?!,’ she said, after I called the police.

But the reaction of the police officers struck me even more. I called and said I was being threatened. And I was told, ‘So you’re in court, there’s police there!’ They just didn’t care. Like, it’s your problem, solve it yourself. However, then they called me back once – but not to make sure I was OK, but to ask where I lived and when my birthday was. They asked for my personal data. It’s just a theater of the absurd.

After I started being pushed by that woman already at the end of the trial, some man, a veteran who was present in the room, offered to accompany me. Another journalist of project ‘360’ was also near me all the time, I am grateful to him. He didn’t step away from me until the ‘Strana’ editorial board under guard took me out of court.

The support group of Yuliya Kuzmenko at the trial behaved openly and brazenly rudely. Especially considering that their friend appealed and claims that she was not involved in the murder of my colleague Pavel Sheremet. Kuzmenko wanted to get out of arrest today. Assuming that the investigation was wrong, and Kuzmenko has not committed a crime, the behaviour of Kuzmenko’s friends completely discredit both Yuliya and all the veteran and volunteer movement. Although there are many worthy people there. That’s my personal opinion.”

Anastasiya Tovt

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