Vasyl Vovk, an expert on state security, Major General of the Security Service of Ukraine, spoke about the progress of the investigation into the helicopter crash in Brovary and his personal attitude to the tragedy.


Our guest today is a Ukrainian military, political and public figure, major general of justice, honored lawyer of Ukraine, candidate of legal sciences, expert on state security and ex-head of the Main Investigative Department of the Security Service of Ukraine – Vasyl Vasyliovych Vovk.

Dmytro Kravchenko: “Good afternoon, Dear Vasyl Vasyliovych, we are glad to meet you and thank you for giving us a couple of minutes of attention in such a difficult time.”

Vasyl Vovk:

Congratulations! In turn, thank you for the invitation to the conversation…

Dmytro Kravchenko: “So, the main topic of our conversation today is the tragic death of the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in a helicopter crash. Its causes and consequences. The main versions of the investigation, etc.”

Vasyl Vovk:

“Investigators of the Main Department of the Security Service of Ukraine in the city of Kyiv and the Kyiv region are investigating the crime provided for in part 2 of Article 113 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (sabotage committed in wartime conditions). Such a decision was made by the prosecutor’s office upon registration in the EDPR – apparently, they had reasons to stop at just such a qualification.

Although let’s analyze the disposition of this article together with the readers (it is not necessary to have a legal education here – everything is quite simple):

“Committing explosions, arson or other actions aimed at the mass destruction of people, causing bodily harm or other harm to their health, destroying or damaging objects of important national economic or defense importance, as well as committing acts with the aim of weakening the state with the same purpose of actions aimed at radioactive contamination, mass poisoning, spread of epidemics, epizootics or epiphytotics…”.

A few simple questions arise:

– where did the goal of “weakening the state” come from, if the circle of potential suspects has not yet been established?

– have the experts’ conclusions already been received that there was an explosion or fire in the rotorcraft, or was the aircraft damaged externally – by hitting a missile, etc.?

– in what exactly can be seen the direction of the intention to mass destruction of people?

– where do you see an attempt to destroy or damage objects that are important for the national economy or defense?

It will be difficult to answer these simple questions for those who made decisions regarding the qualification of a criminal offense.

In such cases, the investigation under Art. 276 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (violation by an employee of railway, water or air transport of traffic safety rules or transport operation, as well as poor-quality repair of vehicles, tracks, signaling and communication means, if this created a danger to people’s lives or the occurrence of other serious consequences).

In the course of the investigation, when the guilty parties are established, expert opinions are attached to the proceedings, other evidence is obtained, the qualification may be changed to more serious crimes (sabotage, terrorist act, murder, etc.).

In our case, the law enforcement officers “raised the bar” too high, and, most likely, we will have to “descend” to the human or technical factor. The public perceives such disturbances negatively.

Today, I consider versions regarding technical malfunctions or pilot errors to be a priority, although I understand that they cannot be accepted by the management of some departments.

At the same time, I emphasize once again that the prosecutor’s office may have information that is unknown to us, so they settled on the above qualifications. In addition, the rules of investigation have not been violated, which will make it possible to obtain admissible evidence during the pre-trial investigation.

Dmytro Kravchenko: “Vasyl Vasyliovych, what was your first thought after you heard about this tragedy?”

Vasyl Vovk:

I did not believe in the death of the heads of such an important department for the country. Somewhere the idea of ​​staging even flashed…

When I received confirmation from several reliable sources, I paid attention to unfavorable weather conditions for flights… Further, I will not develop the direction in which I analyzed the events and facts – this may harm an objective and comprehensive investigation.

Dmytro Kravchenko: “In your opinion, as a person with many years of experience working in the investigation, were the actions of law enforcement agencies correct in the first days after the disaster?”

Vasyl Vovk:

I have no doubts here. Investigators, operatives, criminologists, experts, emergency service workers know their work well. Therefore, I am sure that all the evidence was appropriately removed and preserved for further examinations and the conduct of procedural and investigative actions.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of experience in recording and investigating explosions, arson, and other actions that cause serious consequences, including the death of people.

Dmytro Kravchenko: “Which main versions of the causes of this tragedy would you consider?”

Vasyl Vovk:

I have already partially answered this question. I agree with the position of the Security Service of Ukraine regarding the main versions:

– violation of flight rules;

– technical malfunction of the helicopter;

– deliberate actions to destroy the vehicle.

True, I consider it necessary to divide the third version into two subversions: a) deliberate murder; b) a terrorist act.

Dmytro Kravchenko: “Given the fact that we are at war with Russia, don’t you see traces of Kremlin special services in this tragedy? After all, we all perfectly remember the disasters in which the leadership of Poland led by Lech Kaczyński died, the helicopter crash in which the popular Russian General Lebid died and many other events, the victims of which were uncomfortable figures for the Russian authorities.”

Vasyl Vovk:

I have always been of the opinion that all versions should be checked during an investigation.

At this stage, I do not see sufficient signs that would clearly indicate a “Russian trace” in this tragedy, but such a version is subject to the most serious verification.

In addition, I fully agree with the conclusion of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi: there would be no war – 14 people, including one child, would not have died that black morning.

The cause-and-effect relationship is really present here.

Dmytro Kravchenko: “Would you, as the head of the investigation of the special service, consider the version of the purchase of defective rotorcraft or their poor maintenance, which was the cause of the tragedy?”

Vasyl Vovk:

So. Mandatory. Moreover, the public demand for such a check is clearly visible. This is also necessary for those on whom suspicion falls.

Dmytro Kravchenko: “What would you recommend to those investigating this event?”

Vasyl Vovk:

Take your time. Do not push the experts. The work should go on every day, but in a planned manner, with a clear distribution between the performers and a systematic report of the responsible persons.”

Dmytro Kravchenko: “In your opinion, will the death of the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have a catastrophic effect on the management of the department, especially during the war?”

Vasyl Vovk:

It will affect, but not catastrophically. Acting Minister Ihor Klymenko has extensive experience and sufficient qualifications, and there are still enough professional employees in the middle echelon to keep the situation under control.

Dmytro Kravchenko: “So, summarizing, we can say that…”

Vasyl Vovk:

I suggest not to assert anything. The investigation will draw conclusions and, if necessary, the court will dot the “i”.

Dmytro Kravchenko: “Vasyl Vasyliovych, we are sincerely grateful to you for your time and highly professional dialogue. And finally, maybe you would like to address the relatives of the victims?”

Vasyl Vovk:

Acquaintance with Denys Monastyrskyi since 2014. Communication with him is exclusively positive emotions. Educated and decent, modest and intelligent, balanced and reasoned… And this is not because he is no longer with us!

Sincere condolences to the family of Denis, relatives and friends of all those who died on January 18 in Brovary…

Vasyl Vasyliovych Vovk. Photo from personal archive.

For reference: 01/18/2023 at around 8:20 a.m. near the kindergarten in Brovary the helicopter crashed with the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on board, which was flying to the Kharkiv region. As a result of the disaster, children, managers and employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine died.

Author: Dmytro Kravchenko

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