In an interview for ‘Ukraina’ TV channel, former head of the SBU counter intelligence department Roman Chervinsky said he was booted from the state security agency weeks after his department operatives captured Volodymyr Tsemakh in occupied Snizhne of Donetsk region. The separatist who was swiftly sneaked past the separatists check point and taken to Kyiv on June 27, 2019, faced questioning over his possible involvement in shooting down the Dutch MH17 flight.
Then came July 11 telephone call between Volodymyr Zelensky and Volodymyr Putin.
According to Chervinksy, Russia’s president brought up Volodymyr Tsemakh story in that call.
‘The talk addressed two issues. The first part was them talking about release of our sailors [captured in Kerch Strait incident]. In the second part [of the talk] Putin’s ultimatum demanded Zelensky to give them back Tsemakh. It was the major evidence that Tsemakh is a valuable person for us and a sore point for Putin as it can prove his involvement in our war and prove Russia is an aggressor. Tsemakh and [Ukrainian] sailor was a mutually beneficial swap and it had to happen that way’.
Dismissal of Chervinsky came soon after that telephone talk of the presidents and he was never told what prompted the decision.
‘I still don’t know the reasons although I tried to reach out to the SBU seniors for three months after it’, argued the former intelligence official.