Ukraine: Neo-Nazis from Right Sector threaten armed march on Kiev
A sharp conflict has broken out between the leadership of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry and the commander of the neo-Nazi group Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh. The Ukrainian press reports that Yarosh has accused Interior Minister Arsen Avakov of "counter-revolution" and has threatened an armed march on Kiev.
Avakov claims Yarosh is trying to play Robin Hood and is leading his followers in the wrong direction. Tensions between the Ukrainian security forces and the Right Sector, whose activists played a significant role in the fall of the former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, have lasted for months.
The tensions were sparked by the death of March of Yarosh's "war buddy" Oleksandr Muzychko, who died in the Ukrainian town of Rivne after a police intervention involving gunfire. Muzychko was wanted on serious criminal charges of having committed a brutal murder in neighboring Russia.
After the pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine broke out, Yarosh sent his own armed divisions into battle against the separatists, fighters who are only loosely under the command of the Ukrainain Army. Pro-Russian radicals call the Right Sector divisions "Nazi hordes who will stop at nothing."
Moscow considers the alliance between the Right Sector and the Ukrainian Government proof that politicians in Kiev are of a neo-Nazi, ultra-right orientation. The Ukrainian media are reporting, however, that Avakov has lost patience with the group.
On Saturday the Interior Minister issued a statement charging Yarosh with playing into the hands of Russian propaganda and of building up his own reputation as a fearless warrior at the cost of human lives. "There has been enough playing Robin Hood and abusing the trust of the patriots who are becoming cannon fodder," the minister said.
Avakov said the Right Sector fighting divisions are illegal bandits fighting outside the law and without rules. "Who does Yarosh work for?" his statement concluded.
The Right Sector leader has let it be known that he will not give up his struggle against the Interior Ministry. He sent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko a message calling on him to establish order at the ministry.
"If our demands are not met, in 48 hours we will recall our units from the front and begin marching on Kiev. Right Sector columns will march there fully armed," Yarosh wrote, calling Avakov the leader of "an internal counter-revolution".
According to Ukrainian media reports, during the past few days the Ukrainain secret service, the SBU, has performed several raids on Right Sector offices and has arrested many people. Ukrainian news server Gazeta reports that in Lviv police officers confiscated a Right Sector automobile completely stuffed with assault rifles, grenades and pistols.
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