The Lugansk People’s Republic Prosecutor General’s Office has instituted criminal proceedings against Belarussian citizen Roman Protasevich who earlier was detained in Minsk on suspicion of extremist activities, LPR PGO spokeswoman Inna Semyonova said at a press briefing at the Lugansk Media Centre.
“On May 27, 2021, the PGO department for the investigation of crimes involving prohibited means and methods of war, filed criminal proceedings against Belarussian citizen Roman Protasevich, 26,” Semyonova said.
The case was filed over the participating in an organisation recognized as terrorist by the LPR law, the use in an armed conflict of means and methods banned by international treaties, weapon of mass destruction prohibited by international treaties and the commission of genocide, covered by Article 244, Part 2, Article 439, Part 1 and 2 and Article 440 of the LPR Criminal Code, she said.
The LPR PGO said that in the summer of 2014, Protasevich voluntarily joined Azov, a terrorist organisation blacklisted by the Republic.
“In the period from the summer of 2014 to the winter of 2015, Protasevich, as an active member of Azov at the post of deputy commander for communications of 2nd assault company, together with a number of unidentified persons, took part in the fighting in the territory of Donbass,” the LPR PGO spokeswoman said.
Using heavy armaments such as MT-12 guns, D-30 howitzers and anti-aircraft guns, Protasevich committed several very serious crimes, by carrying out strikes at Donetsk People’s Republic settlements in which civilians were killed and wounded and civil infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, Semyonova said.
Protasevich founded the Nexta Telegram channel which was recognized as extremist in Belarus. Together with his girlfriend Sofia Sapega, he was detained at the Minsk Airport during document check on May 23. Criminal proceedings against Protasevich were opened on several counts including organisation of riots. Earlier, Protasevich alleged that he had been in Donbass at the height of fighting in 2014-2015 in the capacity of journalist. However, some of his photos show him in military uniform with weapons in hands together with gunmen of Ukraine’s nationalistic battalion Azov. *i*s