Court hears first war rape case/Romanov's social networks
In the Solomensky District Court of Kyiv, a preparatory hearing began on the case of Russian military Mikhail Romanov, who in March participated in the occupation of the Brovarsky district of the Kyiv region, shot a civilian and raped his wife.
The prosecutor's office accuses the occupier of violating the customs of war. The Russian shot a resident of the village of Bogdanovka and raped the wife of the murdered man three times. While Romanov is being tried in absentia. It is not known for sure whether he is alive.
In March, information appeared on social networks that Mikhail Romanov died during the conduct of hostilities, but the prosecutor's office did not find confirmation of this. Therefore, he is judged as alive, although in absentia.
What is known about the crime of the occupier
On the morning of March 9, Alexei Zdorovets, a former city council deputy Brovary, and his wife heard a shot in the yard of their private house. The couple went outside and saw a group of Russian soldiers. It turned out that the Russian invaders had shot their dog, an Alabai running around the yard. Then the Russians said that they did not know that people were here and did not want anything bad.
Reference. Russian troops occupied Brovary on March 8.
The wife of the murdered Alexei Zdorovets said that the commander of the group who came to their yard called himself Mikhail Romanov. He was drunk and molested a woman. After rummaging around in Zdorovets' car, he found a camouflage jacket, got angry and fired an automatic burst over the man's head. But the couple convinced the invaders that this airsoft equipment had left.
But in the evening Romanov returned with another colleague. The big man went to open the gate, and his wife went down to the boiler room, where his three-year-old son was sleeping.
Then I heard a shot in the street, and then footsteps in the house. They shout to me: “Get out!” I ask: “Where is my husband?” Then this man in black uniform said: “You no longer have a husband, he was a Nazi, so I shot him,” the woman said.
The military man in black uniform threatened her that if she raised noise, they will show her three-year-old son “how mother's brains fly around the house.” Subsequently, Romanov ordered the widow to undress, after which the military raped her in turn, holding a gun to her head. Then they left, but returned twice more and raped the woman again. Each time they came back drunk.
Since they returned already so drunk that they could not stand on their feet, they sucked right in the house and eventually sat down in armchairs, where they fell asleep, – the victim recalls.
When the Russians fell asleep, the woman took her son, who this time was in the boiler room, and ran away from home. The next day, she managed to leave for the territory controlled by Ukraine, where she testified to the police and told about the incident.
The Security Service of Ukraine opened a criminal case at the request of the victim and found the pages of Mikhail Romanov on social networks. The victim recognized Romanov in the photo. On March 22, when Brovary was still occupied, the prosecutor's office announced in absentia to Romanov a suspicion of violating the rules and customs of war – cruel treatment of the civilian population, combined with murder. The suspicion indicates that it was Romanov who shot Zdorovets. Although the wife of the murdered man told reporters that it was not Romanov who confessed to the murder, but his colleague.
After information about the alleged death of Romanov began to spread on social networks, the SBU filed a lawsuit with a certificate stating that he continues to serve in his military unit, which left Ukraine for Belarus in April and relocated to Russian Belgorod in May. The prosecutor's office sent suspicions to the Russian because of WhatsApp: to his number and the phone of his wife.
How the trial is going
The preparatory hearing in the Romanov case began in the Solomensky Court on June 23. There were prosecutors, the lawyer of the victim Tatyana Korenchuk and defender of the accused Andrei Domansky. A few years ago, he defended Kirill Vyshinsky, editor-in-chief of RIA Novosti Ukraine, accused of treason. In 2019, Vyshinsky was one of those whom Russia exchanged for Ukrainian political prisoners.
Zdorovets' wife took part in the meeting remotely. For security reasons, her face was not shown on the screen. The prosecutor's office and the victim's lawyer asked to hold the process behind closed doors, since the case concerns a crime against sexual freedom and integrity, and the defendant's lawyer supported them. The judges granted the motion. The journalists were taken out of the hall, but after the trial, prosecutor Oksana Kalius told what happened there.
The prosecutor's office filed a motion to summon Romanov to court. Everyone understands that he will not appear in court, but this is a necessary formality. According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, only if he does not come to the meeting, the court has legal grounds to consider the case without him. The judges granted the motion and adjourned.
She added that during the investigation, law enforcement officers checked information from social networks about the death of Romanov in battles, but did not find confirmation. And if suddenly such data appears, they will be checked properly and an appropriate procedural decision will be made. The investigation proceeds from the fact that Romanov is alive and in Russia.
Lawyers do not comment on the case
- The defendant's lawyer Andrei Domansky refused to comment on the case, citing the fact that the process was closed. At the same time, he stated that, according to the Constitution, no one can be found guilty in a court decision. By the way, Domansky is a lawyer by appointment, he does not have an agreement with Romanov. Romanov did not answer him.
- The victim's lawyer, Tatyana Korenchuk, also declined to comment, citing the fact that the client is against talking to journalists. Prosecutor Oksana Kalius said that she was now suffering in a serious psychological state.
- Romanov himself did not comment on the charges and did not declare himself. All of his social media pages have been removed.