Russia’s federal agency for high-profile crimes has initiated a criminal case against former Ukrainian Defense Minister Anatoly Gritsenko over a call to blow up cars in Russia, which he made on Ukrainian television.
The chief spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee, Svetlana Petrenko, told reporters on Thursday that the decision to launch the criminal case against Gritsenko had been made after in early July this year. The ex-minister had alleged that Russian special services were complicit in the killing of a Ukrainian counterintelligence officer and called for extrajudicial reciprocal action.
“If this is a war and not just games for the president every car explosion in Kiev or Mariupol must cause two car explosions in Taganrog or Moscow,” Gritsenko said in an interview with 112 Ukraine TV.
Petrenko told the press that investigators had this statement assessed by linguistic experts and on the basis of their conclusion decided that such words can be considered public calls for terrorism. In Russia this crime is punishable with large fines or prison sentences between five and seven years.
The spokeswoman also noted that the Russian Criminal Code allows for criminal cases against foreign citizens who commit crimes against Russia’s interests, even when such crimes are committed outside Russia.
The committee has previously initiated several criminal cases against Ukrainian officials and military officers over war crimes and abuses of human rights by Ukrainian military and militia during the conflict with the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass.
In 2016, the agency charged the Ukrainian defense minister and several top military commanders with the use of banned methods of warfare and attempted genocide of Russian-speakers in the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic. In the same year, the agency charged two senior officers of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry with attempted murder after establishing that official units had deliberately and repeatedly shelled Russian territory in 2014.