13:52 19.06.2024

Russia's decision to place Western officials on its wanted list part of its effort to violate sovereignty of NATO member states, justify possible future Russian aggression against NATO – ISW

2 min read
Russia's decision to place Western officials on its wanted list part of its effort to violate sovereignty of NATO member states, justify possible future Russian aggression against NATO – ISW

The Russian government is charging Ukrainian servicemen and military officials with crimes in absentia as part of its efforts to enforce Russian federal law outside of its jurisdiction and insinuate that Ukraine should not exist as an independent state, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports in a June 18 report.

“The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) placed former Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Pyotr Mekhed and former Deputy Chief of the Ukrainian General Staff Viktor Bokiy on Russia's wanted list on June 18 and charged the men with unspecified war crimes in absentia. The Russian Investigative Committee ruled on June 17 to detain a Ukrainian commander in absentia on charges that the commander helped down a Russian A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft in February 2024 — a legitimate act of war and a normal event for two warring states,” the report reads.

The analysts also reminded that the Russian MVD previously absurdly placed multiple officials from most NATO member countries on its western flank on Russia’s wanted list for violating various Russian laws while the officials were in their respective countries where Russian law has no jurisdiction.

What is more, Russian officials similarly temporarily placed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavliuk, and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on its wanted list for allegedly violating Russian law while those officials were not in Russia.

“ISW continues to assess that Russia's decision to place Western officials on its wanted list for violating Russian federal laws outside of Russia is part of its effort to violate the sovereignty of NATO member states and justify possible future Russian aggression against NATO.[21] The Kremlin's prosecution of Ukrainian military personnel and political leadership who are engaged in a fully lawful, defensive war against an invasion by a foreign power in a manner akin to domestic terrorists highlights Russia's enduring belief that the Ukrainian state does not and should not exist as a political entity separate from Russia,” the analysts emphasize.

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