State security expert, Major General of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Vovk commented on the interim results of the investigation into the helicopter crash in Brovary


Good day, dear readers! Our guest today is a leading domestic expert on state security, Major General of the Security Service of Ukraine Vovk Vasyl Vasyliovych. The topic of our meeting is continuation the started discussion about the causes and consequences, the main versions and the effectiveness of investigative actions in the investigation of the tragedy in Brovary in which the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs died.

Let me remind you that On January 18, 2023, a helicopter carrying the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Denys Monastyrskyi, his deputy Yevhen Yenin and a number of employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, fell on a residential block in the city of Brovary, Kyiv region. As a result of the tragedy, 14 people died, including 1 child, and 25 were injured of varying degrees of severity.

Dmytro Kravchenko: Good afternoon, dear Vasyl Vasyliovych. I am glad to meet you again and thank you for agreeing to devote your time to our readers.

Vasyl Vovk: Congratulations, Dmitry! Always ready to share the results of personal analysis of certain events. Usually, I make my conclusions after a thorough study of the situation and a comprehensive check of information sources.

Dmytro Kravchenko: The last time we met with you was due to sad circumstances – the helicopter crash in Brovary. I remember that at that time criminal proceedings had already been initiated under part 2 of Art. 113 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (sabotage committed under martial law) and investigators of the Security Service of Ukraine considered the following versions of the tragedy: violation of flight rules; technical malfunction of the helicopter; intentional actions to destroy a vehicle.

Vasyl Vovk: The first version seems to be the most likely, the priority. The second version is an integral part of the first: if the helicopter was faulty, then allowing it to take off is the grossest violation of the rules of preparation for the flight and the conditions of the flight itself. Therefore, by and large, we are dealing with two real versions: a) violation of the rules of pre-flight preparation and/or flight; b) deliberate actions to destroy the vehicle.

If version “a” is preferred, it does not mean that version “b” should be rejected, since they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

I would not be in a hurry to close the question of intentional homicide (the specific qualification at this stage does not matter much, actions can be requalified at any time).

Dmytro Kravchenko: Considering the complexity of the investigation of this type of tragedies, the huge volume of work, examinations, the need to decipher the flight recorders – the investigation is still ongoing, although we have the first results. Yes, on August 3, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine was present reported, that “Under the procedural guidance of the Prosecutor General’s Office, five officials of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine were notified of the suspicion.” The suspects are charged with Art. 276, 367 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, i.e. violation of flight safety rules and official negligence. Do you agree with the conclusions of the investigation?

Vasyl Vovk: My answer to this question is based not only on theoretical knowledge (I wrote my thesis on the topic “Violation of the rules of international flights”), but also on practice – I have investigated many crimes related to the violation of the rules of transport operation. It may not be a typical case, but the case of the downing of a Malaysian Boeing over Donbas in July 2014 provided invaluable experience. In this procedure, every “screw” of preparation for departure, every minute of the flight itself and the instant of the plane’s fall was investigated.

Therefore, the first Always (without exception) either by technicians, or by pilots, or by controllers, or by employees of air traffic organization services, etc., actions that had signs of violation of the established rules were allowed. At the same time, no one would ever pay attention to them if the flights did not end in accidents or disasters. Unfortunately, our realities are such that in the operation of any transport there are formal violations that, in the presence of criminal proceedings, correspond to the disposition of one or another article of the Criminal Code.

Therefore, in this sense, I can agree with the conclusions of the investigation. The main thing is that the court agrees with them.

Second. I do not think that there is a need to hurry with the decision to reject forever the version of “deliberate destruction of a vehicle with the aim of killing the top leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs”. No one has given arguments that would fully justify such a decision.

Dmytro Kravchenko: Vasyl Vasyliovych, do you think, judging by your extensive experience of conducting large-scale investigations, have all previous versions been worked out? Because, agree, the subjective expectations of society and the articles incriminated by the investigation are different.

Vasyl Vovk: Society’s expectations, let’s be frank, are based on emotions, but in this criminal proceeding, public opinion and my expert conclusions coincide. I repeat – it is too early to stop at only one version, according to which persons were notified of the suspicion of committing crimes exclusively in the spheres of official activity and traffic safety and operation of transport.

Dmytro Kravchenko: Can we say that versions like: technical malfunction of the helicopter and intentional actions regarding the destruction of the vehicle – were comprehensively checked and did not find their confirmation?

Vasyl Vovk: Without familiarizing myself with all the materials of the criminal proceedings, it is difficult (for me personally – impossible) to answer your question. But, I emphasize once again, I have not heard any strong arguments to refute all versions, except for “violation of flight rules”.

Dmytro Kravchenko: Don’t you think that the suspects indicted by Art. Art. 276, 367 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine are convenient for the investigation, but do not give an opportunity to assess the full picture of the tragedy? Personally, I have an association with the “bomb shelter” case, when the only culprit was the “appointed” old guard.

Vasyl Vovk: Yes, there are many associations… All these are the consequences of people’s distrust of the work of the law enforcement system. But I would like to be impartial, so I cannot claim that the investigation of this case will end one-sidedly and objectively.

Dmytro Kravchenko: Recently, in a number of mass media, there have been speculations about the intentional criminal actions of third parties, aimed at the physical removal of Denys Monastyrskyi and Yevhen Yenin. Yes, they may seem somewhat conspiratorial, but journalists associate the death of the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs with their professional activities and participation in two “gray” schemes: covering up corruption in defense procurement and expropriating the property of Russian oligarchs. The former assistant of Mr. Monastyrsky, Yehor Bodrov, appears in both. And, of course, the “Russian trail” is voiced. Do you think these versions need to be checked?

Vasyl Vovk: Of course. Necessarily. The investigators should first of all inform people about the verification of these versions and its consequences. In this case, denials such as “investigative secret” are not accepted – there is too much public demand for such information, especially regarding the “Russian trail”.

Dmytro Kravchenko: Vasyl Vasyliovych, in summing up, what instructions would you give to the investigators based on your own experience? After all, you have investigated almost all high-profile cases in Ukraine and you have an excellent understanding of both specifics and details.

Vasyl Vovk: I have great respect for investigators: from a simple investigator to an “important person” and the head of an investigative unit, no matter in which body they serve (SBU, NP, SBU, NABU). I believe that senior employees and managers who are thoroughly familiar with all the materials of criminal proceedings should give instructions. I recommend that investigators always adhere to the “investigative fraternity”, support each other, help each other, always defeat those who try to shake or destroy the evidence base created as a result of legal and professional actions.

Dmytro Kravchenko: Vasyl Vasyliovych, I want to thank you for your time and professional conversation. I think that such communication helps to satisfy society’s demand for truth and objectivity. I wish all of us a peaceful sky and a speedy Victory.

Vasyl Vovk: Yes, as soon as possible.

For reference: Vovk Vasyl Vasyliovych — Ukrainian military, political and public figure. Major General of Justice, Honored Lawyer of Ukraine, Candidate of Legal Sciences. State security expert.

He was involved in the investigation of the most high-profile criminal cases: smuggling of narcotics, weapons, terrorist acts, sabotage, treason, etc.

He headed the Main Investigative Department of the SBU during the war with Russia, was involved in bringing separatists, terrorists, saboteurs, spies, etc. to justice. Periodically participated in operations in the anti-terrorist operation, including those related to the liberation of kidnapped Ukrainian soldiers and hostages.

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