Yesterday there was a sharp turn in the case of a brutal murder in the Donetsk region, the suspects of which are three ATO soldiers from the “Donbas” battalion [a Banderist battalion that has nothing to do with Donbass – ed]. Two of them were released under house arrest by the court.
Two and a half years ago, a family of three people was stabbed on Ukraine-controlled territory. They all turned out to be close relatives of an influential former official who spent years in charge of the region in which the murder took place.
Quickly enough, the police detained three volunteer battalion militants. Yesterday, however, the Themis started to take them out of harm’s way.
The Ukrainian “Strana” news agency recalled the high-profile murder and its likely perpetrators.
First information about the murder
In December 6th 2017, the police of Velyki Novosilky, responding to a call made by neighbours, went to one of the local houses and saw a terrible scene: a 56-year-old man, his 46-year-old wife, and 23-year-old son had been killed.
They were bound and lay face down. Before they died, they had been tortured – on their bodies there were traces of cut wounds, and puddles of blood around.
As “Strana” found out the next day, the dead were close relatives of Valery Shira, the former chairman of the local regional administration. The murdered woman was his daughter and the young man was his grandson.
Shira for many years led the Velikonovoselkovsky district of the Donetsk region, and was the godfather of former President Viktor Yanukovych. At the time of the murder the former official, according to some information, was in Donetsk – i.e., on non-controlled territory.
And his family on the controlled part of Donbass had a serious farm, which had been left behind from the time of his father: tractors, harvesting equipment, and a large house. Shira’s brother-in-law was a major farmer.
The residents of the village whom “Strana” spoke to had different opinions: some considered the motive to be robbery, and others – revenge against the former regional deputy, who surely during his leadership of the region managed to make a lot of enemies.
The police were also considering the option of murder committed for the purpose of inheriting the considerable property of the Shira family. However, no evidence of this has yet been found.
How the suspects were found and what they are accused of
The case was opened on two counts – murder and robbery. They started looking for the murderers, and arrived at them via small at first glance details – the plastic ties that fixed the cuffs that bound the victims.
The investigation found that they had been bought the day before from the “Moskva” store of the city of Toretsk. Further, mobile phone billing tracked the routes of movement of customers from the store to the home of the victims. And already in February 2018 – i.e., two and a half months later – suspects were detained.
All three turned out to be ATO veterans. The first person detained was the native of the Donetsk region Konstantin Skirda (known by the nickname German).
A fellow villager of the deceased family, Petr Salama (also known as Vodila), was arrested next.
A third person was detained in the Kiev region. It was Sergey Lastivka, who is better known by the call sign “Boguslav”.
The investigation claims that Salama brought his friends – Lastivka and Skirda – to the house of the relatives of the former head of the district. At the same time, “Boguslav” and “German” killed them. They managed to take from the house from 40,000 to 50,000 hryvnia, a part of which was given to the gunner – “Vodila”.
The then First Deputy Head of the National Police, Vyacheslav Abroskin, stated that the killers behaved very brutally: they brought all members of the Degtyarenko family (the surname of Shira’s son-in-law) to their knees, forced them to read a prayer, and killed them in turn in front of each other.
The police said that the motive was robbery. During the search, the defendants were found to be in possession of weapons and ammunition.
What German said
Konstantin Skirda is the only one who immediately confessed to the crime. The other two denied their guilt, claiming that Skirda had stipulated them under police torture.
But German told investigators where the knife used to cut people was hidden, and also handed over a cache with a rifle, on which the DNA of Salama/”Vodils” was found.
He also stated that it was Salama who initiated the crime, sent the other two money to prepare and refuel the car, took out weapons, and provided intelligence – showed the accomplices the house, the location of the surveillance cameras, and the way to leave.
At an appointed time, Skirda and Lastivka moved over the fence and deliberately made a noise on the veranda to lure the owner out of the house. That’s what happened – he came out. Under the threat of being shot, he was tied up and laid on the floor, after which the same was done to his wife and son.
Despite Degtyarenko’s wife immediately telling the burglars where the money was, they still started stabbing the victims from behind until they died.
However, the defence of the suspects had their own arguments. Lawyers pointed out that the police found another 30,000 hryvnia in the house, which the killers did not take, thus refuting, in their opinion, the possibility of robbery. Other valuables – mobile, tablets, weapons – also remained in place.
On the other hand, this is only a rebuttal of the motive, not the identities of the killers, insists the investigation.
Also in the spring, the investigation found an interesting fact: Salama’s DNA coincided with the biological traces found on an item of the weapons arsenal found in the house of the farming couple.
According to the conclusion of the molecular genetic examination, biomaterials on the bolt of one of the rifles in the house of the murdered family coincided with genetic samples of the buccal mucosa of “Vodila”. I.e., either he was there or the killers forgot the rifle they were using at the crime scene.
What is known about Vodila, Boguslav, and German
Skirda and Lastivka – directly suspected of murder – met during the actions carried out by the “Donbas” Battalion to blockade the non-controlled territories in 2016.
Both (in the photo below: on the left – “Boguslav” Sergey Lastivka; on the right – “German” Konstantin Skirda) also took part in the political actions of the people’s deputy Semenchenko, who commanded “Donbas”, and later – in “MikhoMaidan“, where Lastivka called to “bleed the oligarchs”.
There is different information regarding their participation in the ATO. But both claim they were there. “Boguslav” has a photo of himself with a sniper rifle (the photo of “German” with weapons we cited above).
But their accomplice Salama, who the former battalion commander of “Donbas” Semen Semenchenko stood up for after their detention and arrest, definitely fought in the ATO. Other fighters said that Petr was wounded near Shirokino, after which he was demobilised.
By the way, “Vodila”, judging by his photo (in the center – “Vodila” Petr Salama; to the right of him – “Boguslav” Lastivka), was also familiar with “Boguslav”, and was also noted in the blockade of the DPR and LPR.
How they were released and what investigators say
Yesterday, a court in Mariupol released Lastivka and Salama from house arrest. They had sat in the cell for two and a half years.
The court thought there was no evidence that the three suspects would hide from the investigation. In addition, they have not previously been prosecuted, are participants in hostilities, and have “stable social and domestic ties”.
That is quite controversial grounds – after all, everything was the same at the very beginning of the investigation. The defence did not provide any newly discovered circumstances that could justify the easing of the measure of restraint. So the decision looks like a political one.
This has already angered the investigator in the case Vitaly Maksimov.
“How?!?.. Something wrong is happening in this state. Coronavirus has nothing to do with it… Back then I took part in the detention of one of the three ‘heroes’. In order to lure him out of the house or at least his elderly relative, I, together with Deputy Head of Criminal Investigation of Donetsk region Valery Efremov dressed up as patrol officers. The detainee in the house had a rifled carbine with cartridges,” wrote the policeman.
Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved.