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Yulia Kuzmenko

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Dr Yulia Kuzmenko protesting her innocence in Pechersky Court, Kiev, December 13, 2019

Dr. Yulia Kuzmenko (Ukrainian Кузьменко Юлія Леонідівна, born November 5th, 1979, Horlivka) — Ukrainian pediatric doctor (specialization – pediatric interventional cardiology); volunteer, civic activist, military doctor, MD PhD..[1].

Dr Kuzmenko came into the spotlight of Ukrainian and international media after December 12th, 2019, when she was arrested and charged with murder of Pavel Sheremet[2]. Since then several court sessions and appeals followed, and remand in custody extended till July 24, 2020[3].

Biography and Career[edit]

Pediatric cardiologist / radiologist / surgeon[edit]

Interventional cardiologist performs a catheter procedure for treatment of congenital heart defect

Yulia Kuzmenko was born on 05.11.1979 in Horlivka, Donetsk region of Eastern Ukraine. In 1985 Yulia and her parents moved to Kiev, where she still lives. While in high school grade 9, Yulia decided to be a doctor. In 1996, she successfully passed exams at the Medical University and was enrolled at the Faculty of General Medicine on a budget form of study (i.e. education fee paid by the state). After graduation she became interested in the diagnostics and treatment of congenital heart defects and took an internship at National Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery, named Amosov Institute by Nikolai Amosov. She was majoring in pediatric cardiac surgery, and has mastered several minimally invasive techniques of interventional cardiology which are performed under the guidance of fluoroscopycatheter procedures including angiography and balloon-catheter “surgery without incision”. Since 2003 Yulia has been working at the Ukrainian Children’s Cardiac Center. Since 2007 she holds a position of Chief, Department of Angiography and Endovascular Surgery. During her career Yulia Kuzmenko has performed more than 2,500 endovascular interventions. Year 2019/2020 her ‘patient waiting list' included 8 patients per week. The pathologies/interventions covered in her ‘case list’ include, in particular, patent ductus arteriosus, atresia of lung artery, secondary intervention after Fontan procedure, coronary cardiac fistulae, Ebstein's anomaly, Eisenmenger’s syndrome[4],[5],[6],[7]. The smallest patient of Yulia Kuzmenko weighted only one kilogram, and the oldest was aged 70+.

Positions held[edit]

Pioneering new medical technology in Ukraine[edit]

The younger colleague of Dr Kuzmenko writes:

“There is a <specific type of> critical congenital heart defectatresia of pulmonary artery with intact interventricular septum. It’s clinical manifestations are obvious immediately when the child is born, and the 'window of opportunity' for correction is only few days – if the time is missed the child dies. Open heart surgery in this pathology is risky and frequently requires the secondary operation. The endovascular treatment is the preferable alternative. Year 2005 Yulia Kuzmenko mastered this technique, and then there were only two interventional radiologists in Ukraine with this skill. Currently, all five doctors who perform this alternative treatment for PA-IVS year 2020 in Ukraine are those who were taught and trained by Yulia Kuzmenko"[9].

Scientific publications[edit]

PhD these “Balloon valvuloplasty for critical aortic stenosis in neonates” (2011); 25 Ukrainian-language articles on different subjects of pediatric interventional cardiology; 8 reviews[10] An article in peer-reviewed English-language journal (2019) covers experience by her and co-workers on innovative "minimally invasive" technology of closure of patent ductus arteriosus[11]


In 2004 married Dmytro Kuzmenko, and in March 2006 she gave birth to a son Artem. Since 2018, she has been divorced. Her son (a 14-years-old boy as by April 2020) after divorcing her ex-husband is fully in her custody[12].

Civic activity[edit]

"I am an ordinary Ukrainian woman who… since the start of Revolution of Dignity dared to position herself not only as a doctor, mother and housewife but as a citizen."

— Dr Yulia Kuzmenko, Jail Diary. Letter from prison, January 04, 2020[13]
Protesters fighting government forces on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv on 18 February 2014.
  • During the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, also known as Revolution of Dignity, she worked as part-time field medic at the Maidan Medical Service, caring for the wounded during the street protests in Kiev.
  • After the start of Russian military intervention in Ukraine (2014–present) in Donbass she was active in grass-root civic support to Ukrainian army (so-called ‘volunteer movement’, meaning ‘citizen supply chain to army’). Her visits with medical missions to the war-torn Donbass were covered in TV interview[14].


President’s of Ukraine award “For humanitarian participation in the anti-terrorist operation” (2016).

Arrest and pre-trial jailing[edit]

December 12th, 2019 Ukrainian mass-media broadcasted a televised press-conference by Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ukraine), with the presence of top officials including President Volodymyr Zelensky, announcing that murder of Pavel Sheremet is solved. The theory of the police, as by December 2019, was that July 20th, 2016 Ms Kuzmenko, at 2:40 in the morning has planted the IED to the bottom of victim's car, and then at 8:00 checked for the victim and remotely detonated the explosive[15][16]. The main technique of identification, by the police version, was the forensic gait analysis (FGA) from CCTV footage, performed by the UK forensic expert Ivan Birch.[17]. According to Ukrainian authorities the aim for the murder was "to destabilize the political situation in Ukraine". The same night Dr Yulia Kuzmenko was arrested. December 13, 2019, Dr Yulia Kuzmenko was remanded is custody until Ferbuary 8, 2020[18]. In subsequent court sessions the term of pre-trial remand in custody was extended until May 30, and subsequently till September 13, 2020.[19],[20] Dr Kuzmenko repeatedly pleaded not guilty[21].

Ukrainian journalists were sceptical about the evidence that was disclosed and the alleged motive.[22] [23][24] Reporters Without Borders have expressed their concern over “inconsistencies in the evidence for the Ukrainian authorities’ claim to have solved (…) editor Pavel Sheremet’s 2016 murder”, and pointed toward “a series of revelations (…) that has cast further doubt on the investigation”.[25] August 11, 2020 Kyiv’s Court of Appeal has released Yulia Kuzmenko into 24-hour house arrest, seven months after she was arrested and remanded in custody, thus allowing the defence’s appeal against the Pechersky District Court ruling on 17 July which had extended Kuzmenko’s detention for a further two months.[26]


  1. "Кузьменко Юлія Леонідівна". Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  2. UNIAN Kyiv court rules two suspects in Sheremet murder case be remanded in custody December 14th, 2019
  3. Coynash H. Radical shift in high-profile charges over killing of journalist Pavel Sheremet in Ukraine Kharkiv Human Rights Group, May 5th, 2020
  4. Experience of endovascular interventions for critical congenital heart diseases //Kuzmenko Yu.L., Maksimenko A.V., Dovgalyuk A.A., // Sovremennaya pediatriya. Ukraine, 2013. - № 7. - pp. 155-160.
  5. Endovascular conduit fenestration closure after extracardiac total cava-pulmonary anastomosis operation//Kuzmenko Yu.L., Maksimenko A.V., Dovgaluk A.A., et al.// Ukrainian journal of cardiovascular surgery ISSN 2313-0830 - 2016. - № 2. – pp. 57-59.
  6. Balloon pulmonary valvuloplasty of valvular stenosis in patients of the first year of life// Maksymenko A.V., Kuzmenko Yu.L., Radchenko M.P., et al.// Ukrainian journal of cardiology - 2018. - № 2. - pp. 50-56
  7. Balloon dilatation of right ventricle to pulmonary artery conduit stenosis in children// Kuzmenko Y., Radchenko M., Motrechko O., et al. // Ukrainian journal of cardiovascular surgery ISSN 2313-0830 - 2019. - № 1. - pp. 27-30.
  8. "Кузьменко Юлія Леонідівна". Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  9. The first experience of pulmonary valve perforation with concomitant arterial duct stenting in patients with pulmonary atresia and intact interventricular septum// Maksymenko A. V., Kuzmenko Y. L., Dovhaliuk A. A., et al. //Ukrainian journal of cardiovascular surgery ISSN 2313-0830 - 2018. - № 1. - pp. 85-89.
  10. [1].
  11. Percutaneous closure of patent ductus arteriosus (…) in 268 consecutive cases Annals of Pediatric Cardiology, v.12 (3), p. 206-211
  12. Zheleznyak O. Two Bombs in the Sheremet Case or The Administration of Law vs. Common Sense//Ukraine Crisis Media Center // February 24, 2020.
  13. Dr Kuzmenko’s jail diary, excerpts
  14. Ranok TV Pride of Ukraine – Mission to save life VIDEO, 2018 Script error: The function "in_lang" does not exist.
  15. SENSE Ukraine Transcript of the Briefing of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kiev December 12 2019 Published June 04, 2020
  16. Zheleznyak O. Two Bombs in the Sheremet Case or The Administration of Law vs. Common Sense//Ukraine Crisis Media Center // February 24, 2020.
  17. FGA servises web-site Professor Ivan Birch
  18. UNIAN Kyiv court rules two suspects in Sheremet murder case be remanded in custody 14 December 2019
  19. RBK-UA Sheremet' murder case: Dr Kuzmenko remanded in custody 01 April 2020
  20. RBK-UA Sheremet' murder case: Dr Kuzmenko remand extended two months more 17 July 2020
  21. Radio Liberty Sentsov, Balukh and other ex-prisoners of conscience appealed to authorities to stop pressure against activists June 19, 2020
  22. Lebed N. They do not believe it! Reaction of people to detention of suspects in Sheremet’s murder case 112 UA. 13 December 2019 19:10
  23. Matola V. A print on clothing, a sacred sacrifice and a cameraman's backpack: what evidence did police show in Sheremet's case?, (15 December 2019) Script error: The function "in_lang" does not exist.
  24. Sukhov O. Skepticism high as Sheremet murder case moves to trial Kyiv Post, June 19,2020
  25. RSF Ukraine must be less cagey about Sheremet murder case, RSF says January 10, 2020
  26. Coynash H. Yulia Kuzmenko released from detention as ‘proof’ of involvement in Sheremet murder increasingly in question Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, August 12, 2020

uk:Юлія Кузьменко

External links[edit]

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