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Police chief appointed by Avakov charged with high treason

by The Kyiv Independent March 1, 2023 7:55 PM 2 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported on March 1 that Anton Shevtsov, an ex-chief of Vinnytsya Oblast police, had been charged with high treason in absentia.

This is the second time Shevtsov is being investigated for alleged treason.

When evidence of his pro-Kremlin views emerged in 2016, then-President Petro Poroshenko and then-Interior Minister Arsen Avakov were accused of lobbying for his appointment. He was later fired and charged with treason and fled to Russia in the same year.

Shevtsov, who has obtained Russian citizenship and has stayed in the Russian-occupied Crimea since 2016, “voluntarily assisted Russian law enforcement in carrying out reconnaissance and subversive activities against Ukraine,” the SBU said on March 1.

Following the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, Shevtsov developed a plan for Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) to carry out sabotage activities in Ukraine,  according to which Russia had to target civilian infrastructure in different regions of Ukraine, the SBU said.

Shevtsov faces up to 15 years of imprisonment with confiscation of property.

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Shevtsov was a top police official in the city of Sevastopol in Crimea during its annexation by Russia in March 2014.

In 2016, evidence of Shevtsov’s pro-Russian views triggered a high-profile scandal leading to his dismissal as chief of Vinnytsya Oblast’s police.

Ukrainian media published footage that shows Shevtsov walking with a St. George ribbon, a pro-Russian symbol, in Russian-occupied Sevastopol during a Victory Day parade on May 9, 2014, shortly after Russia invaded and annexed the Ukrainian peninsula.

Journalists also found photos of Shevtsov with Nikolai Valuyev, a Russian pro-Kremlin lawmaker, and pictures of his children with Russian military equipment in the background.

Meanwhile, Shevtsov’s wife Yelena Shevtsova regularly published pro-Russian posts on social networks.

The SBU arrested Shevtsov and charged him with treason when he tried to cross the border to Russia in 2016. However, later the case was closed, and he left Ukraine.

Poroshenko, Avakov and the SBU were accused of providing political protection to Shevstov back then.

Several lawmakers and activists accused Shevtsov of helping Serhiy Berezenko, a lawmaker from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, during the campaign when he won a parliamentary by-election in Chernihiv  in 2015.

Another Avakov appointee, his former aide Ilya Kyva, also supported Russia after it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. He fled from Ukraine and was charged with treason.

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