Journalist: Pilots who provided evidence in court against General Nazarov have been dismissed from the Ukrainian air force

Two military experts, 1st class test pilots Colonel Victor Lukyanchuk and Colonel Oleksandr Pakholchenko, who signed a conclusion about the reasons for the death of the 49 soldiers on board the Il-76 near Luhansk and about responsibility for this of the command of headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), were fired from the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the grounds of "staff reduction", as reported by journalist Yuriy Butusov on Facebook.

Butusov said that the trial information on the case of Major-General Viktor Nazarov, who was found responsible for the air crash and the death of the Ukrainian paratroopers, was unveiled by a military expert, former head of the Directorate of the Air Assault Forces of the AFU, Victor Savechko.

Butusov also recalled that Lukyanchuk and Pakholchenko claimed that pressure was exerted on them by the leadership of the General Staff to change the results of the examination but the officers refused.
"General Nazarov claimed he did not know that an air defense system was deployed at the airport and did not take measures to avoid the threat.

The general believes that information of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense and the SBU on the ambush set up by two groups of militants near the airport does not constitute reliable intelligence on air defense used by the seperatists," Butusov writes.

He notes that Nazarov considered that the presence of "holes in IL-76 aircraft from small arms received when landing at the Luhansk airport on June 8 is not a demonstration of the existence of air defense and an extremely high threat to the aircraft at the time of its landing."

"Although Nazarov gave the order for the departure of the IL-76, and he admits it, the general believes that he should not have been responsible for the security of the flight. The employees of the headquarters  from the Air Force must be responsible. At the same time, it follows from the case materials that Nazarov did not conduct any meetings with the Air Force command on planning the flight and he did not discuss flight risks," the journalist said.

According to him, Nazarov believes that "the main problem is that the examination was conducted in the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine," and not in Lviv.

Radio Liberty reports that the Court of Appeal of the Dnipropetrovsk region did not approve Nazarov's petition for the re-examination in the case of the downed Il-76 because Ukrainian legislation does not provide for a second examination.

Nazarov stated that the conclusions of the expert assessments of the Kyiv and Lviv institutes that were provided during the criminal proceedings contradicted each other. He claims a second examination would answer the question of whether the administrative decisions of the headquarters corresponded to the situation in Luhansk.

According to Nazarov, the second examination would also properly categorize the information that two groups of militants are going to shoot down planes near Luhansk airport, and determine what the appropriate response to this information should have been. Additionally, it would make clear the duties of the head of the headquarters of the AFU and the direct cause of the crash of the Il-76.

The prosecution and the opposed the re-examination, claiming that it was an "attempt to delay the process." Savechko said that the conclusions of the military-tactical expertise were signed by a commission of 14 specialists. According to him, the duties of the head are prescribed in the regulations on the AFU headquarters, and they included ensuring the safety of the subordinate personnel.
The court declared a recess and appointed the next meeting on December 4.

  Viktor Nazarov, Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukraine, Il-76 military airplane catastrophe