“These are animals, not individuals”: Zelensky frees convicted little one rapists, torturers to bolster depleted army

As soon as condemned by Ukrainian officers and imprisoned for sadistic torture and the rape of minors, leaders of the infamous Twister Battalion are free below Volodymyr Zelensky’s orders.

After banning nearly his total political opposition, publishing a blacklist of international journalists and lecturers accused of advancing “Russian propaganda,” and ramming by way of a legislation exempting 70% of Ukrainians from office protections, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy has free of jail fascist militants convicted of among the most heinous crimes the nation has seen since World Conflict II. 

Based on a July 11 report in Ukrainian media, Ruslan Onishenko, commander of the now-disbanded Twister Battalion, was freed as a part of President Zelensky’s scheme to launch prisoners with fight expertise. Together with an unwavering dedication to fascism, Onishenko is called a psychopathic sadist who was concerned in sexually assaulting kids, brutally torturing prisoners, and homicide.

Onishenko’s launch follows a February 27 order by Zelensky to free different convicted former Twister members like Danil “Mujahed” Lyashuk, a fanatic from Belarus who has brazenly emulated ISIS and boasted of torturing captives for sheer enjoyment. Based on Zelensky‘s decree, prisoners with fight expertise could be allowed to “compensate for his or her guilt” by combating within the “hottest spots.”

Again in 2015, when the Ukrainian state supplied official assist to his Twister Battalion, Onishenko texted two fellow “patriots,” Voldomor and Svetlana Savichuk, propositioning Svetlana Savichuk to “suck my cock in entrance of the [toddler] kids.” (See screenshots of the dialog right here). He additionally requested Savichuk to carry out lewd acts on her kids for his viewing pleasure. Regardless of the magnitude of his crimes, which included torture, homicide, rape – together with that of youngsters – kidnapping, amputation, and extra, Onishenko was sentenced to a mere 11 years in jail on April 11, 2017.  

Now, after serving simply 5 years of his sentence, the convicted predator has been freed by a president hailed by  Western patrons as a defender of democracy.

Zelensky’s transfer isn’t just a sign of desperation as his army is floor down by Russian forces within the east. It extends the digital impunity that Ukrainian battalions infested with hardened criminals and neo-Nazis have loved for over eight years as official enforcers of the post-Maidan regime’s rule.

Twister battalion founder Ruslan Onishenko

As common items defect after Maidan, battalions fill the hole

Again in February 2014, when the US-backed Euromaidan coup drove out Ukraine’s democratically elected president, the brand new regime in Kiev confronted a disaster. All throughout the nation, army items and native governments have been nonetheless crammed with ethnic Russians and different supposedly “unpatriotic” components. Ethnic Russian politicians largely from the east have been branded as “radical deputies” and kidnapped, hunted down or in any other case pressured to flee.

On February 23, 2014 Oleksandr Valentynovych Turchynov turned appearing President of Ukraine and enacted sweeping laws with out an electoral or constitutional mandate. Throughout Ukraine, a majority of residents refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the brand new coup regime. Areas east of the Dnieper river inhabited by a lot of Russian audio system, Jews, Muslims, and different nationwide minorities would quickly turn into targets of right-wing paramilitaries like Onishenko’s Twister battalion.

Within the jap cities of Lugansk, Donetsk, Mariupol, Odessa and Kharkiv, residents besieged native authorities buildings and buildings of the Ukrainian safety providers to create stress for a referendum on independence. Neither the native army nor the police tried to cease these protesters. 

Based on a 2016 US army report:

Definitely, no armed resistance was met by the pro-Russian forces at first. The truth is, the true state of affairs on the bottom was even worse. Based on the Ukrainian inside minister, as much as 70 % of police within the area had allowed or actively assisted the constructing takeovers.

When the post-Maidan authorities refused to present these residents both a referendum or significant illustration within the authorities, two of the jap regional Oblasts, Donetsk and Lugansk, declared independence.

The post-Maidan authorities’s disaster of legitimacy grew when Ukrainian army items despatched to Donetsk to quell the revolt ended up defecting to the aspect of the anti-Maidan coup residents. Determined to save lots of his new regime, the unelected interim President Oleksandr Turchynov introduced large-scale anti-terrorist operations in an effort to “quell the terrorists” within the east.  But the Ukrainian army remained obstinate, largely refusing to observe Kiev’s orders.  

In April 2014, the twenty fifth separate airborne brigade of the Excessive Mobility Assault Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, was despatched to Donetsk to wage conflict on its residents. Nevertheless, within the phrases of the embittered interim-president Turchynov on April 17, 2014 on the Verkhovna Rada, “the twenty fifth separate Airborne Brigade, whose army confirmed cowardice and surrendered arms, might be disestablished… The Protection Ministry has obtained this instruction.”  

Turchynov despatched a corresponding order to the Prosecutor-Common’s workplace demanding the prison punishment of the disobedient servicemen. Whereas the Ukrainian Ministry of Protection denied that the brigade defected to the aspect of the separatists, the unit’s tanks started to fly the flag of the DNR, as even mainstream Western media reported.

Days after the interim President “disbanded” the twenty fifth Brigade, the newly put in “deputy governor” of Dnipropetrovsk introduced the formation of “particular forces” in an effort to “shield the oblast” from falling into “Russia’s palms.” Whereas the median Ukrainian wage for 2014 was 3480₴ ($117 USD), “volunteers” for these battalions, in response to the Deputy Governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Hennadiy Korban, obtained 29528₴ ($1000) per 30 days. That’s practically ten instances the typical wage in Ukraine.   

After the lack of elements of the Oblasts of Lugansk and Donetsk and all the peninsula of Crimea, Kiev believed that Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, with its massive Russian-speaking inhabitants, could be the following Oblast to declare independence. Unable to depend on the Ukrainian army, nor the present police pressure, which they deemed to be “infiltrated by pro-Russian separatists,” Kiev formally deputized the fascistic paramilitary forces that functioned as avenue muscle through the Maidan coup.  

In March 2014, Kiev handed a legislation establishing a “nationwide guard” which was to be overseen by the Ministry of the Inside. With the consent of the then-Inside Minister Arsen Avakov, Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kholmoisky bankrolled the creation of among the nation’s extra infamous territorial protection forces. The primary of those “particular police battalions,” Dnipro-1, was born from the oligarch’s fortune. One among Kholmoisky’s deputies, Boris Filatov, said that the purpose of those particular battalions was to “knit the nation again collectively.” 

As a substitute, the particular battalions (Dobrobats) recruited from the core of Maidan activists who battled the deposed president’s riot police. Oleg Lyashko, a self-styled “individuals’s deputy” who based the Radical Social gathering and appeared on the primary stage through the Euromaidan pro-coup rallies, tried to determine his personal Dobrobat named “Ukraine.” As a result of Lyaschko didn’t have the cash to finance a proper battalion, his group must audition for assist from oligarchs by volunteering to combat within the metropolis of Torez within the Donetsk Oblast. 

By this time, Ruslan Onishenko was often known as a profession prison with three convictions for theft, hooliganism, and illegal imprisonment (kidnapping) below his belt. Born Ruslan Abalmaz, he adopted the household title of his spouse, “Onishenko,” after Euromaidan. As a local of Torez, he turned a central determine within the “take a look at formation” of Lyashko’s new battalion. 

The plan to retake Torez from the separatists failed, nonetheless, prompting Onishenko and his crew to flee to the neighboring metropolis of Dnepropetrovsk, the dwelling of billionaire Igor Kholmoisky. Ultimately, with the assist of Minister of Inside Arsen Avakov and his deputy, right-wing political fixer Anton Gerashenko, Onishenko was in a position to persuade Kholmoisky to finance a brand new battalion referred to as “Shaktorysk.”  

In June 2014, a public relations marketing campaign for the Shaktyorsk Battalion started on EspressoTv, the unofficial outlet of the “particular battalions,” in addition to on UkroTV, lionizing Onishenko as “the one man who struggles for the soul of the nation” 

Ruslan Onishenko’s escape second on Ukraine’s Espresso TV

That very same month, Shaktorysk fighters underwent coaching below the auspices of the regional police headquarters. On July 8, 2014, the newly minted police unit formally “graduated” and took its oath of workplace earlier than being posted to Mariupol.  

Based on former SBU agent turned whistleblower Vassily Prozorov, “From the choice of Inside Minister Arsen Avakov to determine particular police ‘patrol’ items throughout the construction of the ministry of the inside (MVD), these divisions started to appear like mushrooms after a wet day.” The particular battalions grew from solely two within the days after Euromaidan to fifty-nine inside a number of months. 

Onishenko coaching for fight

Seven days earlier than graduating from its coaching camp, Shaktoyrsk battalion members flaunted their sadistic tendencies. On July 1, only a week earlier than the unit’s coaching ended, an area civilian named Ruslan Kyrenkov was visiting a pal’s home when he was accosted by “a gang of males with weapons.” They dragged him out of the house, claiming he was a separatist, and took him to one in every of their secret basement prisons. Whereas his ordeal solely lasted two days, he advised this reporter, “it felt like fifteen days.”   

Kyrenkov was tied to a chair, whereas a masked member of the battalion whipped out a blow torch and seared the flesh on the chest and arms. He was tortured for 3 days straight. Even right now, he bears the scars of his torture. “They was once a lot darker,” he stated of his third diploma wounds, “however now they’ve lightened up”  

The Shaktoyrsk Battalion was hardly distinctive in its barbarism. Lots of the particular battalions operated with whole impunity whereas their commanders raked in cash by partaking in smuggling of nearly any good, understanding they may at all times set up a monopoly by way of brute violence.  

For instance, in July 2015, the Proper Sektor operated a tobacco smuggling cartel within the metropolis of Mukachevo. When a battle erupted between two factions of the far-right unit, a shoot-out ensued, and police tried to intervene.

Based on the native prosecutor’s workplace:

On July 11 in Mukachevo at about 14:00, 20 armed individuals in camouflage with the labels “Proper Sector” and related stickers on their vehicles got here to an appointment with native residents in a restaurant for the aim of divvying up spheres of affect. A battle broke out and the armed males started taking pictures from firearms on the above-mentioned institution. Based on preliminary info 6 policemen and three civilians suffered gunshot wounds of varied levels of severity. 5 of the armed males with the ‘Proper Sector’ labels additionally suffered accidents.”

Nevertheless, Proper Sektor members wound up escaping from the police, who have been unable to disarm them. After the police pursued the armed gang, Proper Sektor retaliated by taking a 6 12 months previous boy hostage.  In July 25 2015, after failing to disarm the Proper Sektor, Inside Minister Arseniy Avakov suspended the police-chief in Mukachevo. Now the right-wing gang couldn’t solely pursue its tobacco smuggling actions with out official harassment, it might resolve who could be subsequent to guide the native police. 

Together with whole impunity, the right-wing paramilitaries have been supplied with a seemingly countless retailer of weapons by the US. Then-comedian Zelensky made gentle of the pattern in one in every of his nationally televised comedy routines. In a single particularly notable bit, Zelensky performed a cop within the post-Maidan police whose sole qualification for the job was being the nephew of the police chief.

In Zelensky’s routine, a hapless unit of rookie cops by accident blows up an costly tank. “Don’t fear, America will exchange it,” they declare with an off-the-cuff shrug.

Comic Volodymyr Zelensky mocks the corruption of Ukraine’s post-Maidan police

As president, Zelensky appears to have forgotten the harm performed to his nation by out-of-control, utterly unaccountable Dobrobats – and has licensed their ongoing rampage.

Twister types amidst army failure

In August 2014, the Shakhtyorsk Battalion of Ruslan Onishenko participated in one other ill-fated operation by the Ukrainian authorities to take again a separatist-controlled space, this time within the jap city of Ilovaisk. In the long run, the Ukrainian Dobrobats have been surrounded by fighters from the Donetsk Folks’s Militia and compelled to abort their mission. The painful defeat was a significant factor in forcing Ukraine’s coup authorities into negotiations with the breakaway Donbass republics below the rules of the Minsk Accords.

Unusually, regardless of retreating with its collective tail between its legs, Onishenko’s Shakhtyorsk Battalion obtained a commendation from Inside Minister Arseny Avakov for its supposed bravery in Ilovaisk. But solely a month later, in September 2014, President Poroshenko and different cupboard members abruptly handed down a choice to disband Shakhtyorsk, accusing it of looting. 

In a complicated assertion, Avakov declared, “Whereas combating fantastically inside Ilovasky, the Shakhtyorsk battalion was disbanded below my orders due to many circumstances of looting in Volnovakha and different conditions in close by locations.”

The Shakhtyorsk battalion was thus break up into two teams: one which referred to as itself “Saint Mary, and a second led by Onishenko referred to as “Twister,” which consisted largely of pro-Maidan residents of Lugansk and Donetsk, in addition to some foreigners. 

Within the meantime, below 4 waves of mobilization in 2015, Ukraine tried to develop its common armed forces from 130,000 to the “official rely” of 230,000. Nevertheless, the haphazard nature of the recruitment solely managed to entice troopers who have been unable to successfully interact in any fight operations. In March 2015, Yuri Birukov, one of many advisors to then-Ukrainian President and billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko, said on Fb that Ukraine managed to recruit a lot of “alcoholics, dodgers, drug addicts and morons.”

Within the Donbass area in 2015 alone, the Ukrainian armed forces noticed over 16,000 circumstances of desertion.  A few of these defections occurred after a legislation handed that 12 months which licensed commanding officers to legally shoot deserters.

The Ukrainian authorities was more and more pressured to show to extremist Dobrobats like Twister and psychotic leaders like Onishenko for assist in battling the jap separatists. 

Twister chief Ruslan Oshinenko

“This unit is uncontrolled”: Ukrainian officers and State Division-sponsored human rights experiences element Twister’s unbelievable sadism

Twister, like the opposite Dobrobats, recruited a mixture of far-right fanatics and hardened criminals. Its ranks included the Belarussian extremist Danil Lyashuk, who glided by the call-sign “Mujahed” and has made claims claims about changing to Islam and supporting ISIS. Whereas it’s unclear whether or not Lyashuk truly served in ISIS, he has brazenly emulated the Islamist militia’s urge for food for unhinged sadism.  In a single 2015 audio recording, Lyashuk proclaimed, “with out torture, life isn’t residing.”  This turned his motto.

Instantly after its official formation, among the members of Twister started promoting their weapons on the black market. On November 2, 2014, six fighters from Twister have been recalled by Kiev, disarmed and reassigned to the jap Oblast of Zaporizhya. There, they tried to extort cash from the mayor, Alexander Sin. Nevertheless, he stood agency and demanded that the Twister battalion be transferred out of his area. Sin was predictably met with accusations of corruption, separatism and treason by radical nationalist components, however in the long run, he secured the extremists’ switch to the Lugansk Oblast, which was nonetheless below the management of Kiev in 2015. 

The Kharkiv Human Rights Group authored a report on behalf of the US Division of State detailing the phobia imposed on locals by Twister’s “every day patrols” in Lugansk: 

Folks carrying camouflage, carrying machine weapons, knocked out doorways, broke into non-public houses, carried out searches (with out permission from judges), “requisitioned” valuables, humiliated and beat homeowners, and threatened to shoot them. They grabbed individuals from the streets and checkpoints, and with luggage over their heads, they have been taken to basements, the place they “carried out work on figuring out separatism” amongst the residents of the village.

The State Division-commissioned reported continued:

Many males have been taken forcibly from their houses and brought below escort to the constructing of the railway hospital in Novaya Kondrashovka. A lot of the detainees have been launched, however there have been circumstances of individuals disappearing after being illegally detained by battalion fighters. Between the summer time of 2014 and the tip of 2016, there have been 11 identified circumstances of lacking residents of Stanytsia Luhanska. 

On January 3, 2015, two Lugansk locals, Sergey Valuveskii and his pal, Kosta, fell sufferer to the Twister battalion throughout a routine go to to a store within the village of Mareko. To the locals’ astonishment, the shop was crammed with a column of males wearing army gear, with their faces coated, bearing fully-loaded automated rifles. Valuveskii advised one of many masked males within the retailer, “You’re standing there with a machine gun and exhibiting off in entrance of a lady.” 

This seemingly innocuous remark was sufficient for the masked militiamen to tug each Valuveskii and Kosta out of the shop and beat them mindless with the butts of their machine weapons.  Ultimately, they have been thrown inside a van and brought to a basement of the hospital in Novaya Kondrashova. After two weeks of torture, he returned dwelling so disfigured that his spouse was unable to acknowledge him. 

Whereas Onishenko now roams free due to Zelensky’s official order, a number of Lugansk locals who incurred his unit’s wrath stay in jail on probably the most specious grounds. A very disturbing instance of Twister’s cruelty occurred following an explosion at a checkpoint within the city of Stanitsa Luganskaya that killed a 36-year-old soldier in January 2015. A full month after the lethal blast, the Twister Battalion detained a 65-year previous pensioner named Nikolay Ruban. Based on claims by Markiyan Lubkivsky, adviser to the chairman of Ukraine’s SBU intelligence company, the pensioner was caught “red-handed” carrying a “TNT” and a fuse hid in a jar of honey.

Nikolay Ruban was subsequently tortured in an underground make-shift jail maintained by the Twister battalion, in response to a fellow prisoner’s account.   

“I noticed him, this grandfather, who was later convicted for holding a jar of honey at a roadblock,” the previous cellmate advised the Kharkiv Human Rights Group. “He was additionally within the basement of Motobond on the identical time we have been detained. To begin with, the grandfather was crushed badly. He was nearly bare and utterly barefoot. His garments have been torn. He was crying on a regular basis and requested me to clarify why he was detained. They got here to beat him each two hours. Totally different individuals got here in every time. When [a cellmate] and I have been launched, he was nonetheless there. So have been the opposite prisoners. What occurred to them afterwards,I don’t know. When it turned identified that he was sentenced to fifteen years, I used to be shocked.”

Ruban was quickly transferred to the custody of SBU, the place after a 12 months, throughout a extremely suspect trial through which the lone piece of proof was his possession of a jar of honey, he was sentenced to fifteen years of jail for committing acts of terrorism. He additionally apparently confessed to being a Russian spy who had contacts with the GRU.   

One other native named Sergey Petrinko claimed that the Twister Battalion “took him and a pal in broad daylight, in the course of the afternoon.” Within the battalion’s dungeon, he misplaced observe of time and fell right into a terrified stupor. “Some have been at all times there,” Petrinko recalled. “Some have been introduced in, some have been taken away, some have been ransomed.” He additionally testified that foxes within the woods had dug up bones of one other acquaintance whose corpse was dumped after dying in Twister’s torture chamber. 


On prime of those acts of cruelty, Twister battalion members have boasted of utmost sexual violence, together with the rape of young children. It was the unit’s penchant for perversion that probably prompted the June 2015 Inside Ministry order to disband them.

Nevertheless, the Ukrainian authorities was in for a shock when it realized it didn’t have the authority to regulate these battalions in spite of everything. Following the order to disband and search the bases of Twister, deputy Inside Minister Anton Gerashenko appeared on the pro-opposition Channel 112 to complain in regards to the extremist paramilitary he had personally deputized. ​​”There’s a courtroom order to look the bottom the place the Twister battalion is situated,” Gerashenko said. “If somebody permits himself to not adjust to the courtroom order, on this case, this unit is uncontrolled.”  

Later, in June 18, 2015, the chief army prosecutor Anatoliy Matios reported that the Twister fighters refused to disarm and barricaded themselves inside their base in a college in Severodonetsk.   

The Ukrainian authorities have been lastly in a position to arrest Onishenko on the Donetsk airport. His brothers-in-arms responded by refusing for a number of days to obey orders from Kiev, blocking investigators from coming into their base to conduct searches, and threatening armed resistance if legislation enforcement tried to take action with using pressure.

Within the midst of the disaster, Gennadiy Moskal, then-chairman of the Lugansk Army-Civil Administration, reported that the Twister battalion fighters had taken up defensive positions and deployed army tools in preparation for a battle with Kiev.  Ultimately, after sending different Ukrainian army items, the rogue battalion was lastly quelled and its members arrested.  

An actual life horror movie unfolds on the Twister battalion’s trial

Following the arrests, the Ukrainian chief prosecutor discovered proof of hideous crimes dedicated by numerous members of the Battalion. On the cellphone of Daniel “Mujahed” Lyshook, the prosecutor discovered a video (at 2:23) of two different members of the Twister battalion raping a 3rd man in two separate orifices. Lyshook claimed throughout his path that he ordered the horrific rape as a result of he discovered it amusing.

Through the 2016 trials, one other kidnapped sufferer testified that he was chained to a large yellow ball for weeks (see after the ten minute mark). The courtroom proceedings additionally introduced forth sickening photographs from the telephones of the Twister fighters exhibiting disfigured ladies and rotting corpses littering army bases. 

The trial of the Twister battalion noticed testimony by 111 witnesses together with proof scattered throughout the areas of Lugansk, at the very least 80 our bodies, attributable to Twister violence. The judges have been overwhelmed with photos of mutilated genitalia, castrations and different types of sexual torture. 

Picture introduced through the trial of Twister members reveals a torture sufferer whose are was tattooed with the form of male genitals

One witness exhibited a scar on his arm: a penis and two testicles sadistically etched onto his left arm by a Twister member with a carving knife (see picture above). Within the gallery, a mom was pressured to listen to testimony of how her son was brutally raped by the battalion earlier than he was killed. Witnesses described how a ten-year previous lady was kidnapped for ransom and repeatedly raped on movie till she died somewhat over every week after she was seized.  

The federal government of Kiev reacted with compulsory condemnation of the Twister goons, portray them as a set of unhealthy apples that didn’t replicate on the general character of the Ukrainian army.

Tatyana Chornovil, a Euromaidan activist and former member of the ultra-nationalist Aidar Battalion, took to channel 112 shortly earlier than the trial to problem a dramatic declaration: “The Twister commanders have been arrested and their cell telephones have been seized. This can be a video of varied sexual orgies, rapes. And I’d even say that there have been new child infants. I perceive that the mom with this new child was pressured to do that below the specter of demise of her little one. There have been rapes of underage ladies. These are animals, not individuals.” 

Now, Zelensky is letting the “animals” out of their cages below the quilt of conflict. 

Although Twister’s members signify among the wildest beasts to have stalked the general public, 58 different battalions similar to it stay operational throughout Ukraine.  

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