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Baidrakov: questioning of prisoner of war Cherednyk as a witness

About the case: The investigation established that serviceman of the 501st Separate Marine Battalion of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Anton Baidrakov, is involved in the commission of particularly serious crimes on the territory of the republic. He has been charged with four articles of the Criminal Code of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR): Article 323 ‘Actions aimed at violent seizure and retention of power in the DPR’, Part 1 of Article 427 ‘Cruel treatment of the civilian population’, subparagraph ‘a’ of Part 2 of Article 128 ‘Illegal deprivation of liberty of a person committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy’, and Part 1 of Article 106 ‘Intentional murder’.

The case is being considered by a panel composed of three judges of the Southern District Military Court. The presiding judge is Maxim Mikhailovich Nikitin.

Video conference has been set up with witness Cherednyk, who is in pre-trial detention and is a defendant in another case. His attorney is present at the session.

The judge asks the witness about the audio quality during the video conference, and the witness confirms it’s clear. The judge requests the witness’s personal information and then reads out the witness’s rights. The judge checks with the witness’s attorney if the charges against the witness and the defendant in this case are linked. Cherednik’s defense attorney presents a conclusion stating that the charges are unrelated. The judge warns the witness about the consequences of refusal to testify and providing false testimony.

The prosecutor starts the questioning:

  • How did you come to know the defendant?
  • We ended up in the same reserve group and met during combat operations in 2022.
  • What were your duties while serving in Mariupol?
  • To maintain defense in the responsible zone opposite the settlement of Mirny in the vicinity of Mariupol.
  • Do you know about any women detained by Baidrakov?
  • A woman who escaped from a correctional facility was detained. According to Baidrakov, he only shot at her.
  • What details do you know about this conflict?
  • I’m only aware of the fact of the conflict; I don’t recall specific details. There were active combat actions at that time.
  • Did Baidrakov mention committing the murder of the woman?
  • No, he only stated that he shot at her. I informed the command to take action regarding this.
  • Do you know who else was with that woman?
  • Yes, there was a deserter and another woman.
  • Are you familiar with the surname Ryzhih?
  • Yes, that’s the deserter’s surname.

Defense counsel:

  • Who detained the woman who was shot at?
  • I don’t know who specifically detained her; an order was given to detain all suspicious individuals.
  • Did the conflict happen immediately, or was the victim kept under protection for some time?
  • She was under protection for some time.
  • What were the criteria for suspicion when detaining people?
  • It was the zero line of the front; there were no civilians. It was also necessary to have documents, and if a person didn’t have documents, they were detained until the circumstances were clarified.

The prosecutor submits a motion to read out the testimony given during the preliminary investigation due to contradictions in the witness’s statements. The contradiction lies in Cherednyk not knowing whether Baidrakov killed the victim or not.

The prosecutor reads out the materials of the testimony given in the Donetsk People’s Republic, pointing out that Cherednik and Baidrakov were acquainted before the start of combat actions and that Cherednik was aware that Baidrakov killed the detained woman.

The witness confirms their previous statements. There are no further questions from the prosecution or defense.

The prosecutor requests the disclosure of the interrogation protocol of the witness Skidan. The prosecutor reads the protocol, detailing how the victim escaped from the correctional facility and her subsequent identification.

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