Former Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova, while in office, made up scary stories about the rape of children by the Russian occupiers.
This conclusion was reached by Ukrayinska Pravda during its own investigation, which was published on June 27. The publication told the non-public side of Denisovaʼs release.
So, in March, Lyudmila Denisova, with the support of UNICEF, launched an addition to the existing hotline of psychological support. She was cared for by psychologist Oleksandra Kvitko, Denisovaʼs daughter. Employees of the Ombudsmanʼs Office did not know anything about Kvitkoʼs work: who and how often called her, whether these calls were recorded, and what assistance was provided to victims.
The stories of the crimes that Denisova and her daughter voiced publicly were not passed on to law enforcement officers. Journalists also could not find confirmation of the stories told by Kvitko and Denisova, even when these stories had details that could help in the search for victims. Neither the ombudsman nor the psychologist could provide any evidence that these victims existed at all to journalists or the investigation, which called them as witnesses to find out the details.
During the interrogation, as Ukrainian Pravda found out, Denisova admitted to the police that she had heard stories from her daughter, and she told that she told them to her mother "over a cup of tea", and Denisova allegedly explained that she told terrible stories because she wanted to win for Ukraine.
At the same time, Ukrainian law enforcement and parliaments were approached by European partners and asked for evidence of rape, but the ombudsman "gave back" and did not coordinate her actions with parliament. All this became the basis for her rapid release.
As for the hotline, it was stated that 5 professional psychologists work on the line, and in the first two weeks, 400 people have already sought help, most of whom told about sexual crimes. At the same time, it was not known how these calls were recorded, who the psychologists who work with appeals were, and so on. UNICEF eventually told reporters that they were regular operators.
Although Anastasia Kvitko claimed that her hotline had received about 1,040 calls in a month and a half, 450 of which involved child rape, an official statement from prosecutors found that only 92 calls had been received.
- On May 31, the Verkhovna Rada dismissed Lyudmila Denisova from the post of the ombudsman. The reason is dissatisfaction with her work in the office, in particular with regard to the organization of humanitarian corridors, protection, and exchange of prisoners, and counteraction to the deportation of people and children from the occupied territories. All these issues were forced to be resolved by Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. Denisova herself stated that she did not deal with these issues, as she did not have such powers.
- Instead of Denisova, Dmytro Lubinets, a Peopleʼs Deputy from the For the Future parliamentary group and chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, Deoccupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, is to be appointed ombudsman.