The editor-in-chief of Slavic Sacramento and a group of individuals were forcibly detained outside of Kiev. The group was almost taken hostage by unidentified Ukrainian citizens under orders of the village council representative Aleksandr Skots.
Two American citizens and two Ukrainians were illegally detained for half an hour in a former Young Pioneers camp outside of Kiev.
Ruslan Gurzhiy of California, Vlad Zhelesniy of Ohio, Aleksei Tarasov, and Pyotr Vdovichenko, Lyudmila Mishanna of Ukraine, were forcibly detained on the grounds of the Christian charity center, Hope (renamed The Center of Mercy and Rehabilitation of the Cathedral of the Savior), by an unknown group under the command of Aleksandr Skots.
The incident took place on February 2 when a group of American and Ukrainian activists arrived to conduct investigative reporting on the grounds of the church property, which had been seized from Ludmila Mishannaya during a hostile takeover.
According to Ruslan Gurzhiy, during the course of the interview, unidentified men under the command of local businessman Aleksandr Skots and his subordinates, in particular Anatoliy Karpovets, closed the gates and detained the California journalist and his companions for half an hour.
Pyotr Vdovichenko, an employee at the Hope Center of Mercy in Boyarka reported that the police blatantly overstepped their authority and acted in favor of Skots.
Persistent requests to open the gates and let the guests leave were ignored. What’s more, the leaders of the local group, Aleksandr Skots and Anatoliy Karpovets, unceremoniously insulted the visitors while they were having a peaceful discussion.
In response to the unwarranted actions of Skots’ accomplices, several local police squads with machine guns were called to the scene. A few minutes before the police arrived, Skots ordered his team to open the gates and release the detained citizens.
The police questioned the victims and promised to get to the bottom of the incident. Separately it was noted that the illegal conduct of Aleksandr Skots and his accomplices may fall under the “Capture and Detention of Hostages” clause of Ukraine’s Criminal Code. An investigation is now under way.
“The police who responded to the call arrived without badges, which they are required to have by law, reluctantly showed their credentials, and then tried to separate me from the group and take me in to the station,” said Ruslan Gurzhiy, adding that local residents report a massive number of incidents of Skots family members bribing local law enforcement.
“What the local mafia is doing in conjunction with law enforcement is a complete outrage and utter lawlessness,” said former ATO veteran and fighter of the Tornado battalion Aleksei Tarasov, who was present during the detention. “On top of it all, numerous violations of the Ukrainian Constitution and basic human rights were committed during the questioning of the victims.”
It should be added that Aleksandr Skots is the brother of Stepan Skots, the Bethany Slavic Missionary Church pastor and founder of Ukraine Relief in Sacramento. As Slavic Sacramento discovered, Aleksandr Skots is a representative on the Kryukovschina village council.