Russia Abuses Interpol Rules to Push on Ukraine
Ihor Mazur's detention in Poland was made at the request of the Russian Federation
Donbas war veteran Ihor Mazur, who was arrested by Polish authorities, was released on the recognizance of the Ukrainian Consul in Lublin.
His detention in Poland was made at the request of the Russian Federation.
“I am happy that I will be spending Poland’s Independence day with my friends and not behind bars,” said Mazur.
Mazur, also known under his callsign ‘Topolya’ is an activist and a participant of the Revolution of Dignity.
In 2014 he went to repel the Russian invasion as a volunteer and a year later he joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Now he works as a leading specialist for the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
He was arrested in Poland on Saturday (Nov. 9) at a border checkpoint en route to a meeting with an ex-speaker of the Polish parliament. As it turned out, Mazur had been put on Interpol’s wanted list by Russia, under allegations of taking part in the Chechen war in the 1990s.
“I did not take part in the combat action. I was on the territory of Chechnya at the time. We came there as journalists, there was a Free Caucasus press-center. Journalists remember that UNESCO HQ had press-conferences, we had connections to Grozny and were broadcasting information about how the city was destroyed, how civilian districts were bombed and people were put into concentration camps. Russia then showed how cruel they can be to their own citizens. Unfortunately, now it is showing how cruel it can be to Ukrainians,” said Mazur.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs has stated that Russia is abusing Interpol rules.
“According to our police officers who cooperate with Interpol, Russia violated two articles of Interpol’s charter that prohibit unjustified persecution, as well as interference in military, religious, and racial affairs. The reason for the detention of our citizen was not a red card, but wanted-list published in the information system,” said the Head of the Communication Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Artem Shevchenko.
Polish parliament representatives have stated that the detainment of Mazur is just a formal performance of international duties.
“Poland did what it had to do. We detained a man who was on the list, but only for clarification. We already know a lot. And I assure you that extradition to Russia is not guaranteed. The Polish government and courts will investigate this case thoroughly and I, on my side, will do everything, to guarantee Ihor Mazur’s innocence in regards to Russian accusations,” wrote the Deputy Marshal of the Polish Sejm, Malgorzata Maria Gosiewska on her Facebook.
Ukraine also insists that Mazur is innocent. On the day of his detainment many Ukrainians, including his friends and brothers in arms, gathered in front of the Polish embassy in Kyiv demanding Mazur to be set free.
“I have known Ihor for many years. He is my friend, brother in arms. We met during the Orange Revolution. When we found out what happened in Poland we came here to the Polish embassy to support him. To send the message across that today, every active and patriotic citizen of Ukraine can be sent to Russian prison without even entering Russian territory,” said Mazur’s friend, Petro Mykhailenko.
For now, Mazur is in the General Consulate in Lublin. He cannot leave the territory of Lublin Voivodeship until the legal process has concluded.
“Right now, the Polish prosecutor’s office is waiting for these materials, which are confirmation of the criminal investigation through Interpol and the essence of accusations on this case,” said the Ukrainian Consul in Lublin Artem Valakh.
Mazur is optimistic.
“My mood is much better than yesterday for sure. I believe the outcome of the process will be positive,” he said.