Former Ukrainian Chief of General Staff arrested on charges of high treason

Ukrainian Chief Military Prosecutor Anatolii Matios confirmed at a press conference on Monday that the country’s former Chief of General Staff, Volodymyr Zamana, had been arrested, UNN reports.

“Colonel-general Zamana, former Chief of General Staff, is suspected of committing the crimes envisaged in part 1 article 111 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code – high treason, in the wording from 2001. In 2015, the wording of this article was replaced with more severe [wording],” the prosecutor said. 

Matios said that on 31 December 2012, the Armed Forces of Ukraine were supposed to number 179,000, including 131,000 soldiers. However, under Zaman’s personal directives, this number was reduced by 4,646. “Despite the direct legal norm on the threshold number of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Chief of General Staff acted to reduce them by nearly 5,000 combat-capable soldiers,” the prosecutor explained. 

Zamana’s tenure saw the disbanding of a number of anti-air missile divisions and air force units, and another brigade was reduced to a squadron. “Disbanding these military units and divisions effectively deprived our entire country of anti-air defense,” Matios noted. 

Zamana also signed a directive which placed the “Crimea” tactical group and its units, including the 204th tactical aviation brigade, under the management of the Ukrainian Navy’s operational command. According to the investigation, this decision facilitated Russia’s capture of Crimea in 2014. 

In 2012, Zamana also approved the disassembly and disposal of 588 items of military equipment, primarily anti-missile defense systems and missiles. 

Zamana continued this course in 2013. “In 2013, at Zamana’s directives, the recruitment offices were downsized by 3,205 staff members, the paper records of reserve soldiers according to their military training specialties were eliminated with the introduction of the so-called electronic records. At the start of the combat and the annexation of Crimea, Ukraine’s recruitment offices had neither paper nor electronic records,” Matios explained. 

The colonel-general’s actions in 2013 led to the military being reduced by 17,000 people, including 14,000 soldiers, and the disbanding of 70 military units. 

The military prosecutor emphasized that Zamana could have been aware of the impending Russian aggression, but did nothing between January and February 2014 to prepare the armed forces for defense. 

The case will be adjudicated by the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv, which is currently determining the choice of interim measures. 

Volodymyr Zamana held the position of Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine between February 2012 and 19 February 2014.

  Ukraine, Matios, General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Crimea, Kyiv