Opinion Politics Society, 14/02/2018

Kharkiv Tragedy Verdict Might Influence Canada’s Support to Ukraine

Olena Sokolynska

Two days ago Kharkiv Observer received a letter from our reader who lives in Toronto, Canada, and keeps a vigilant eye on Kharkiv tragedy investigation.

The correspondent asked us to give the latest information about the state of legal proceedings on the tragic Kharkiv crash, which killed six people in October 2017. The reader expressed his concerns that the main suspect Olena Zaitseva could have lenient punishment if “her daddy made a deal.”

“It appears her daddy’s lawyers are attempting to ‘shift the blame’ with another driver,” the Canadian noted. “I hope the evidence is clear as we have seen it all over the world. Canadian media are watching this very carefully, with dire consequences for Ukraine if she is not convicted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Ukrainian media and Kharkiv activists are following the case thoroughly too. Most Kharkivites have no doubts that Zaitseva is guilty as the video fixed she had been driving at breakneck speed and through the red traffic light. As for another driver Hennadiy Dronov, whose car collided with Zaitseva’s Lexus, it is not proved yet whether he had started moving at the yellow or green light. Also, the witnesses state there was no clear stop line on the intersection before Dronov’s car, therefore it was difficult to say whether he had stopped on the wrong spot before starting moving and subsequently crashed into Zaitseva’s Lexus.

However, the activists report that stop line was marked the next day after the crash. Two weeks after Zaitseva’s arrest Dronov was imprisoned as well.

Our Canadian reader states that “the second driver is merely a scapegoat” according to the videos the overseas viewers had seen. The correspondent, whose job is to monitor how Ukraine spends financial contributions from Canada, highlights that if the case is not clearly decided and Zaitseva does not get the mandatory strict verdict, these could lead to cessation of military, financial and political aid to Ukraine. “Our media report that the majority of Canadians want our government to stop assisting Ukraine further because of corruption,” states the correspondent.

Last week, February 7, it was announced that Olena Zaitseva was found guilty of violating the traffic rules, which resulted in the car crash and six people’s deaths. The judge Victor Popras extended arrest of Olena Zaitseva and Hennadiy Dronov for 60 more days until April 7, 2018, without the right to apply for bail. Also, the court granted seven civil suits, which had been claimed by the accident victims, per a million UAH each.

The hearing of the case of the deadly accident on Sumska street will begin on February 19 in the Kyivskiy district court. Both drivers can be imprisoned for 10 years.

Reference: A terrible crash, referred to as “Kharkiv tragedy” took place on Sumska street on October 18, 2017. Lexus, driven by Olena Zaitseva, crossed the intersection on the red light and after colliding with Volkswagen Touareg rammed into a group of pedestrians on the sidewalk, killing six people and injuring five.

Text: Olena Sokolynska

Photo: TSN, Regional Prosecutor’s Office