Pavel Grib. Photo by Konstantin Volgin for the Caucasian Knot

24 November 2018, 11:48

Prosecution witness testifies in favour of Pavel Grib

Maria Yuristova, a friend of Sochi resident Tatiana Ershova, has partially retracted her earlier testimony given at trial in the case against the Ukrainian citizen Pavel Grib and refuted the prosecutors' version. Tatiana Ershova and Pavel Grib did not discuss any plans of terror act and the political issues were not the main topic of their conversations, the witness stated.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in late August 2017, Pavel Grib disappeared during his trip to Belarus. Later, the Russian FSB told Ukrainian diplomats that Grib was kept in the Krasnodar SIZO (pre-trial prison). According to investigators, the Ukrainian persuaded his familiar woman-resident of the Krasnodar Territory to blow up an improvised explosive device (IED) on the graduation line-up in one of Sochi schools. According to Grib's relatives and advocate, he has a disability status and needs permanent medication.

At the hearing on November 23, the court planned to complete the earlier started questioning of the key witness, but Tatiana Ershova fell ill. The court questioned another witness for the prosecution: her friend Maria Yuristova, an 18-year-old native of Sochi.

The witness reported that starting from 2016, Tatiana Ershova communicated on the Internet with Ukrainian citizen Pavel Grib. According to Maria Yuristova, the correspondence of her friend with Pavel Grib was mainly of romance nature, and she could not remember anything about the political moments of her friend's correspondence.

Public prosecutor Alexei Kister drew attention to the significant contradictions in the testimony of witness Maria Yuristova and announced the protocol of her questioning on October 5, 2017. According to the protocol, at the preliminary investigation, Maria Yuristova characterized her friend as "a Ukrainian nationalist with right-wing views."

As follows from the questioning protocol, Maria Yuristova reported that Pavel Grib and Tatiana Ershova came together "on the basis of Ukrainian nationalism," a common understanding of the history of Ukraine as "occupation by the Russian Empire and the USSR," as well as "opposing the Ukrainian nation to the Russian world."

According to the data read out by the public prosecutor, in the spring of 2017, Tatiana Ershova told the Maria Yuristova about a method of making a bomb, which she had learned from Pavel Grib.

Maria Yuristova confirmed that her signatures were under the protocol, but she refused to characterize Tatiana Ershova as a "Ukrainian nationalist." "No, I did not write that. I only know that she loved Ukraine and the Ukrainian language. I do not know what nationalism is," the witness said.

She also explained to the court that she had learned about the bomb from Tatiana Ershova already after the institution of the criminal case, when the friend explained to her the reasons for that the criminal case could be instituted.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on November 24, 2018 at 01:49 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Valery Lyugaev; Source: CK correspondent

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