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Ukraine Nationalist Leader Faces Terrorism Charges

Published: March 5, 2014 (Issue # 1800)



  • Members of radical group Right Sector have been widely seen as thedriving force behind theprotests inKiev
    Photo: Darko Bandic / AP

MOSCOW Russias Investigative Committee has opened acriminal case onterrorism-related charges against theleader ofa Ukrainian nationalist group widely seen as thedriving force behind the ousting of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin onMonday said Dmytro Yarosh, theleader ofthe ultranationalist group Right Sector (Pravy Sektor), was wanted forpublic appeals tocommit acts ofterrorism onRussian soil andacts ofextremism, charges that carry up toseven andfive years inprison, respectively.

Related: Domodedovo Terrorist Attack Plotters Sentenced

Investigators say Yarosh posted astatement onthe groups VKontakte page urging theIslamist insurgent leader Doku Umarov often referred toas Russias equivalent ofBin Laden tojoin Ukraine infighting theKremlin. TheRight Sector has denied thecharges, however, saying that people hired bythe Kremlin had hacked thegroups official VKontakte page andwritten afake appeal toUmarov that was falsely attributed toYarosh.

TheRight Sector was widely seen as thedriving force behind theprotests inKiev that led toa violent uprising against thegovernment andheightened tensions with Russia. Thegroup gained prominence when theprotests became more radical inJanuary andFebruary, after themainstream opposition andSvoboda, amore moderate nationalist party, began tolose their appeal.

Yarosh rose inpopularity forhis role inthe protests andwas appointed adeputy chairman ofUkraines National Security andDefense Council last month.

Related: Ukraine Unrest Unlikely to Spread

It is forthis reason that thegroup believes Yarosh has been accused ofcolluding with aterrorist tovillainize him andeliminate any influence he may have had among Ukrainians.

Inthe VKontakte message that prompted criminal charges byRussian investigators, theauthor said that many Ukrainians had participated inthe same liberation war being waged byChechens andother North Caucasus peoples. Members ofUNA-UNSO, one ofthe groups constituting theRight Sector, reportedly fought against Russians inthe Georgian-Abkhazian conflict andfirst Chechen War inthe 1990s.

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Friday, Jan. 30 through Wednesday, Feb. 4



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