Photo - Kharkiv Meda Hub: Deputy Chief of the Main Department of the National Police in the Kharkiv Region - Chief of the Investigation Department Serhii Bolvinov
November 27, 2023, 20:31

The investigators told who killed the children’s writer Volodymyr Vakulenko and other residents of the Izyum Region

During a briefing in Kharkiv Media Hub, Deputy Chief of the Main Department of the National Police in the Kharkiv Region – Chief of the Investigative Department, Serhii Bolvinov, talked about the progress of the investigation, during which it was possible to identify the russian terrorists who killed the children’s writer Volodymyr Vakulenko and other residents of the Izyum Region.

It is known that the body of Volodymyr Vakulenko was discovered during the exhumation of a mass burial in a forest strip near Izyum, in grave number 319.

“We were able to identify the killers of Volodymyr Vakulenko thanks, in particular, to witnesses. Obtaining testimony was not easy, as people who survived the occupation were simply afraid to speak, so the investigation lasted more than a year. We conducted more than 40 interviews with 26 witnesses, four searches, and 38 forensic examinations to get the information we needed. Eight victims have been identified in this case”, says Serhii Bolvinov.

The law enforcement officers managed to establish the course of events on the day of the writer’s shooting and the day before, and the participants of the events. At that time, the 4th company, 4th battalion, 204th rifle regiment of the mobilization reserve was located in the village of Kapitolivka. Soldiers of “LPR” of the 2nd Army Corps of the 8th General Army of the Southern Military District of the Armed Forces of the russian federation.

At first, the rashists kidnapped Vakulenko together with his sick son – then mocked and beat him. They released him after and took him back a day later. Volodymyr Vakulenko was tortured before his execution, forced to undress, searched for a trident tattoo, and mercilessly beaten – already on his dead body, experts saw two broken fingers on his left hand.

The occupiers shot the writer on March 24, 2023, after taking him away in a white minibus marked “Z” in an unknown direction. The mutilated body was thrown from the road. It was there that after 2 months he was found by rescuers who were carrying out the ritual service in Izyum, after which the man was buried.

Serhii Bolvinov says that with the help of information received from witnesses and from open sources, it was possible to establish the names and callsigns of Vakulenko’s killers.

“The first performer is Serhiy Udodenko, a 50-year-old machine gunner of the 4th company. Call sign “Udod”. It was he who shot the writer with a Makarov pistol. The second criminal Neskorodyev Vladyslav was the company commander who gave the order. Call sign “Lev”. He is 33 years old. It was he who directed the kidnapping of Vakulenko and other residents of the village and their executions. Both suspects are from Luhansk Region, who were previously prosecuted for theft.”

The speaker noted that the case of Vakulenko’s murder is being investigated together with the cases of the murders of three more residents of Izyum Region – men aged 51, 59, and 76. They were killed by the aforementioned russian military. One Ukrainian, his name was Yuriy — only because he was a member of the ATO. Two others were killed by the occupiers for allegedly collecting information about russian units and passing it on to the Armed Forces.

“We established that, in fact, the men, due to cold and hunger, went to the forest for pine cones to warm themselves with hot tea from an old samovar! But before they were killed, they were all tortured in torture chambers set up in residential buildings of the village.”

The law enforcement officers have a version that before shooting these three residents of Kapitolivka, the rioters forced them to dig pits for burial:

“They did not bury the bodies. They threw branches at them. Only later, in August 2022, these bodies were found by people from “Gruz 200″. Two bodies were identified by relatives, and they were buried in an ordinary cemetery, but no one could recognize Yuriy, he was reburied in a mass burial site,” said Mr. Bolvinov.

Together with Mr. Bolvinov, Evgeniy, a 56-year-old resident of Kapitolivka, a former prisoner of russians, and a witness to the murder of his fellow villagers, was present at the briefing.

The man says that he does not know the reasons for his detention by the occupiers.

“They came in, I gave my passport, I didn’t have a military ticket with me. And then they found it. I was not a carrier of useful information for them. Then in the afternoon the sun was shining, and I was lightly dressed. I thought I would die from the cold in the basement on the first night. This is constant oppression — moral, physical.”

Evgeniy stayed in the basement measuring 2 by 2.5 meters for about seven days. He could not answer the question about time precisely, because he did not have a watch, and there were no windows in the room.

“There was no lighting, there were no matches. In the morning, they took them to the toilet, gave them something to eat, and then called them in for questioning. Sometimes there were screams – a person was being beaten. Yurka (killed ATO soldier — ed.) said that he was hit in the back with a butt, and his ribs were broken.”

Yevgeniy said that Yuri was tortured by a military man called “Lev”: “I didn’t know who he was then. But the uniform of the occupier was of better quality than the uniform of his subordinates – that’s how I understood that he was leading other invaders.”

Witnesses in the case said that “Udod” repeatedly boasted that his commander under the pseudonym “Lev” gave him instructions to kill people, because he himself, allegedly, is afraid of blood. It was also established that the killers probably knew who Vakulenko was. The reason for the murder of all four residents of Kapitolivka by the russians, according to the head of the Investigative Department Serhii Bolvinov, was a pro-Ukrainian position.

In addition, while in Kharkiv Oblast, the suspects looted, stole personal property, and terrorized local residents. The occupiers were informed of the suspicion in absentia. They are accused of violating the rules and customs of war. Soon they will be announced as an international wanted man.

Also, in this case, the investigation has the callsigns of four more people, who will most likely be notified of the suspicion in the future.

Read more: