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Amnesty International report confirms major crimes committed by Aidar battalion in Luhansk

September 10, 2014, 9:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia has repeatedly urged human rights organizations to give more attention to the large-scale violations of human rights and the rule of law during Kiev’s so-called antiterrorist operation
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© ITAR-TASS/EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

MOSCOW, September 10./ITAR-TASS/. Amnesty International human rights organisation’s report has confirmed that Ukraine’s Aidar punitive battalion has committed major crimes in the eastern Ukrainian Luhansk region, Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said on Wednesday.

“The above report confirms that major crimes, including was crimes were committed routinely and with connivance of Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies by the command and fighters of the Aidar battalion,” the diplomat said. “Amnesty International points to only some of them - abduction of people, illegal arrests, beating, extortion, including demanding ransom for the release of seized Ukrainians and banal looting. The report states with reason that despite the advertised by the Kiev and West patriotic image of the Aidar battalion, this unit has gained ill repute among the residents of Ukrainian regions for its crimes, atrocities and outspoken banditry.”

The Russian side has repeatedly urged international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, to give more attention to the large-scale violations of human rights and the rule of law during Kiev’s so-called antiterrorist operation. “All these crimes, including the May bloodshed in Odessa, should be investigated in an unbiased manner under effective international control, and the perpetrators - brought to justice,” the diplomat said.

The Aidar special unit was formed in May of activists of the radical nationalistic political forces of Ukraine for the participation in the punitive operation in the southeast of Ukraine. According to some information, Aidar is controlled by the leader of the Radical Party of Ukraine, Oleg Lyashko. The battalion, whose initiator was its commander Sergei Melnichuk, is comprised of volunteers from Ukraine’s western regions.

Russian law enforcement agencies suspect Aidar of shelling civilians. In particular, according to the Russian Investigative Committee, Aidar fighters were involved in mortar shelling of Luhansk on June 17, in which Russian TV journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin were killed.

On May 2, 2014, right radicals burned down in Odessa (a city in the south of Ukraine) a tent camp of the supporters of Ukraine’s federalization. A total of 48 people were killed in the incident and more than 200 injured. A court in Kiev released the main suspects in the case, placing them under house arrest.

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