WANTED by Kyiv: war criminals from the Russian Arctic border town of Zapolyarny
The 32 year old man looks like most other locals from Zapolyarny. He has a small flat in one of the many Soviet-era housing blocks. He is married and has a young son. He travels on holiday by train to the Black Sea.
But Vladislav Salyavin has done evil that hardly will allow him to return the quiet normality of a small town dweller. The man from Zapolyarny is soldier in an aggressive war. And like thousands of fellow warriors fighting Russia’s illegal and bloody onslaught, he has committed serious crimes against the people of Ukraine.
According to Ukrainian authorities, Salyavin has been directly involved artillery strikes on civilian housing quarters in the Kharkiv region. The number of deaths and injuries inflicted by Salyavin on the local population is unclear.
But judging from the Ukrainian side, the level of suffering is significant. In late June 2022, Salyavin was included in a list of wanted war criminals.
The list was established with support from President Volodymyr Zelensky, and by late August 2023 it included 1877 individuals. And more names are added continuously.
Vladislav Salyavin is wanted by the Ukrainians. They already have his home address, his military service number, passport number, telephone number and more, and they request information about his whereabouts. People that has information about Salyavin are requested to take contact through a special bot on Telegram.
Judging from the social media page of his wife, he was back home in Zapolyarny in early May this year. He also got a brief leave in October 2022. On photos, he is seen dining out in one of the local restaurants with his son, and walking in the local streets of Zapolyarny.
Salyavin serves as junior sergeant and commander of an artillery unit in the 200th Motorised Rifle Brigade. He is not the only soldier from the heavily militarised border towns in the Kola Peninsula that is wanted by Ukraine for war crimes.
On the list are at least seven soldiers from the 200th Motorised Rifle Brigade, and several of them have home addresses in Zapolyarny and other nearby settlements.
Among them is Azat Sadykov, who has a home address in the town of Pechenga. Sadykov originally comes from Tyumen in western Siberia. He was sent to Ukraine in the very start of the invasion and served as corporal and driver and mechanic. He was fighting in the Kharkiv region and was reported missing by relatives in May.
Sadykov comes from a military family. His brother Rauf Sadykov is a prominent and highly decorated veteran from the war in Afghanistan.
According to the Ukrainian list of war criminals, the current status of Azat Sadykov is uncertain. He might be among the tens of thousands that have vanished in the course of the war.
The same applies for Roman Aleksandrovich Dyo, a junior sergeant and weapons commander for the 200th Motorized Rifle Brigade. The 33 years old man has been serving on a contract for the brigade since 2018. He originally comes from the Volgograd region, but has his current registered home address in Luostary near Zapolyarny.
According to the Ukrainians, Roman Dyo has been “directly participating in fighting action on the territory of Kharkiv region as part of a tactical battalion under the 200th separate motorized rifle brigade.
The brigade that is based in the Pechenga area has had serious losses in the war. According to a Norwegian intelligence report published in February 2023 only about one fifth of the brigade’s former capacities remains intact and up to 1,500 men have been killed.
Among the ones killed is Dinar Khametov, a lieutenant colonel that commanded a rocket artillery division. Also Khametov is on the Ukrainian list of war criminals. He was born in Tatarstan, but had his last registered home address in Zapolyarny. It is not clear whether his wife and three small children are still in the north Russian town.
The war against Ukraine might initially have seemed far away for locals in Zapolyarny and the Pechenga region. But the heavy engagement in war action by servicemen from the two local brigades, the 200th Motorised Rifle Brigade and the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade, has brought the tragedy into the homes and lives of the Russian northerners.
It is not clear how many men from the Kola Peninsula that have been killed in Ukraine, but the Barents Observer has the names of at least 120 people. Some of them are described with photos in an article with slideshows. At least 17 residents from the Pechenga region have been killed.
Among them is Leonid Belyakov who was killed in the very first days of the Russian onslaught. He was serving as a driver for the 200th Motorised Rifle Brigade. He came from the town of Nikel.
In fall 2022, Senior Lieutenant Mikhail Kosarev was killed. Following his death he was awarded the St.George’s Order for bravery and courage. He came from Zapolyarny.
Shortly later, Sergei Korneev, Artur Rarykin and Andrei Ukhov from Nikel was killed.
Aleksandr Gaukhman, Andrei Kolesnikov, and Maksim Salnikov and Nikolai Ulyanov from Zapolyarny, Nikel and Pechenga respectively were killed in service for the mercenary Wagner Group.
In June 2023, two men that normally worked in the nickel mines in Zapolyarny were killed. Aleksandr Martynov and Mikael Aliev were workers for the Nornickel company in the Severny-Gluboky mine. Also Andrei Prokhorov used to work for Nornickel. He was driver from Zapolyarny and was killed in early April this year.
Local authorities in Zapolyarny and the Pechenga region continue to express staunch support for the war against Ukraine. Local Mayor Andrei Kuznetsov has decorated his private van with a large “Z” and nurses close contact with military leaders from the two local brigades. The municipal website and social media almost daily shares patriotic contents and encourage local men to sign up for military service.
“Every local in the Pechenga region know that our men, the soldiers from the two military brigades, protect our country in the special military operation. They fight decently, with honour and bravery,” Kuznetsov writes.
At least 17 men from the far northern Pechenga region are reported killed in Ukraine. See the slideshow: