A 19-year-old Ukrainian who went missing while on a trip to Belarus has been located — in a Russian jail on terrorism charges.
Pavlo Gryb is being held in Pre-Trial Detention Center No.5 in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar, his father Ihor told the Unian news agency. The father received word of his son’s whereabouts today from Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry.
The Foreign Ministry’s message confirms an earlier report by Belarus’ Euroradio — as well as Ihor Gryb’s own conclusion — that Pavlo Gryb was being held in the Krasnodar detention center.
Photo credit: Igor Gryb facebook page
On August 24, Pavlo Gryb departed the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv to spend an afternoon in Gomel, Belarus with a girl he had met online. When he failed to return by the next morning, his father, a former Ukrainian border guard, departed for Belarus to find him.
In Gomel, Ihor Gryb discovered that his son was wanted in Russia under article 205 (“terrorist act”) of the criminal code, a charge that was initiated by the Krasnodar regional office of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
It remains unclear what led Pavlo Gryb to be charged with terrorism. He did not serve in Ukraine’s armed forces, did not belong to civic organization, and had not visited Russia. However, after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and backed separatists in its eastern regions, Pavlo actively wrote patriotic posts in social media, his father said.
On August 28, Ihor Gryb published a post on Facebook and brought his son’s disappearance to public attention. Journalists subsequently managed to contact the girl who Pavlo planned to meet in Gomel, a 17-year-old Russian citizen.
In a series of phone and Skype interviews, she said that the FSB had blackmailed her into meeting Pavlo in Belarus. Her statements strongly suggest that the FSB used her to lure Pavlo across the border, where he could be detained.
The regional prosecutor’s office in Ukraine’s Chernihiv region has opened a criminal investigation into Pavlo Gryb’s disappearance.
On September 4, before Ihor Gryb received confirmation of Pavlo’s whereabouts, Hromadske recorded an exclusive interview with him about his efforts to locate his son and his theories as to how Pavlo wound up charged with terrorism in Russia.
/By Maria Romanenko