Policeman-Traitor: Commander of Russian «Sudoplatov Battalion» Identified

Left – Dmytro Pogrebnyak («Shaman»), commander of «battalion named after Sudoplatov» (BARS-32). Photo: Telegram 2023

Policeman-traitor Dmytro Pogrebnyak (call sign «Shaman») from Luhansk is the commander of illegal military unit «battalion named after Sudoplatov» fighting the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Zaporizhzhia region. He served in the special unit «Sokil» of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

«Battalion named after Sudoplatov» has been created upon the initiative of Yevhen Balytsky, the Russian «head» of occupied part of Ukrainian Zaporizhzhia region. As the 32nd squad of BARS (Russian army units of reservists), it has been subordinated to the 58th Army of the Russian Armed Forces.

At the very beginning of its existence, this «battalion» has been legalized as «the state unitary enterprise» of the Russian occupation administration of Zaporizhzhia region in the Russian Register of Legal Entities. In February-June 2023, Pogrebnyak Dmytro Tymofiyovych has been its acting director (his Russian taxpayer’s code 910217849658 was issued by Russian tax inspection in occupied Simferopol, the capital of Crimea).

As the Center for Journalist Investigations revealed, Dmytro Pogrebnyak is the Ukrainian citizen (Ukrainian passport # ВК249020, Ukrainian taxpayer’s code 3258800991). He was born in Luhansk region on March 22, 1989. Before the Russian occupation of Luhansk region in 2014, he has served as the sergeant in Luhansk rapid operational response unit «Sokil» of the Department to Fight Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

Video of Russian propagandist Solovyov demonstrated him without balaclava and named him as Dmytro, with call sign «Shaman». He told that he has been sent as the member of «Sokil» from Luhansk to Kyiv «to pacify» the Revolution of Dignity in 2013-2014.

«We were given weapons; we occupied hills and protected assault squads which withdrew from Maidan. We evacuated our wounded people», as told Pogrebnyak to propagandist Solovyov. It seems that he participated in covering so-called «black company of «Berkut». This company has been involved into mass shooting of protesters at Instytutska street in Kyiv.

After his return to Luhansk, Pogrebnyak has guarded the Luhansk airport. It is not known what he did when Russian proxy units blocked and seized the airport. After the Russian occupation of Luhansk, Pogrebnyak broke his oath and joined the Russian invader. As he told, he has served as Captain in illegal military units of so-called «LNR\DNR».

After the Russian full scale invasion into Ukraine, Pogrebnyak has fought in Kherson region. Then, he has been appointed as the commander of «battalion named after Sudoplatov».

«Shaman» represents himself as Dmitrii Taranov in social media. He uses the surname of his wife – Khrystyna Andriivna Taranova, also born in Luhansk region. They gave birth to a son in 2017 and registered their marriage in 2018. In 2020, Khrystyna Taranova registered as individual entrepreneur in Russia (Russian taxpayer’s code 236702761611), with key business in the sphere of «sports and training». Her legal address is located in the Russian resort city of Sochi. 

Dmytro Pogrebnyak with his wife Khrystyna Taranova in Sochi, March 2023. Photo: Telegram

Her photo and video in social media demonstrate that she practices fitness and makes naked performances and pole dancing in Russian night clubs. In 2013-2014, she has worked as webcam model. In 2016, the girl friend of policeman-traitor participated in bodybuilding tournament in Kharkiv.

Khrystyna Taranova, webcam model and future wife of Pogrebnyak. Screenshot from webcam site, 2013

Social media of brides demonstrate a lot of photos made after the Russian full scale invasion into Ukraine. As a rule, photos describe their vacations – at the seashore, yacht, in hotels and night clubs in Sochi and other Russian cities. It seems that direct participation of Pogrebnyak in the Russian war against Ukraine has not stopped his regular visits to Russian resorts.

«Commander of battalion» Dmytro Pogrebnyak with wife Khrystyna Taranova, June 2022. Photo: Іnstagram

According to Ukrainian military analyst Kostyantyn Mashovets, so-called «battalion named after Sudoplatov» (BARS-32) participated in the fighting near Vasylivka and Luhove village in 2023. BARS-32 is subordinated to the 58th Russian Army, fighting in Zaporizhzhia region. Collaborators from occupied Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions form the core of the «battalion».

As the Center for Journalist Investigations reported, the «battalion» also includes members of so-called «International movement of Rus people», promoting imperial ideas of uniting Slavic peoples under the governance of Russia. Collaborator Andrii Rodionov («Viking») from Sevastopol and mercenaries from Serbia has been members of this «movement».

See our investigation «Death operators. Drone project «Archangel» about training centers of Russian project «Archangel», preparing drone operators for «battalion named after Sudoplatov», and about Russian project «Sudoplatov. Judgment Day» manufacturing fpv-drones.