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Russia’s FSB shuts down extremist group in Crimea

May 21, 11:12 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The group was created by aide to Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada MP

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© Alexander Ryumin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/. The Federal Security Service (FSB) has shut down the activity of an extremist group in Crimea that had been created by an aide to Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada member of parliament, the FSB Center for Public Relations told TASS.

"The Federal Security Service and the Russian Interior Ministry have revealed the activity of an extremist group created by Erol Veliyev, aide to Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada member of parliament [Mustafa] Dzhemilev, as ordered by [Refat] Chubarov, who is the leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, which is outlawed in Russia, and is on the wanted list, with support from the Ukrainian Security Service," the FSB Center for Public Relations reported.

Apart from Veliyev, former boxers Steshenko and Tretyakov are also members of the group that was formed in Kharkov, FSB reported. "The extremists planned to commit crimes based on political hatred with a goal to threaten the pro-Russian Crimean Tatars and stoke national tensions on the territory of the Republic of Crimea," the Center noted. 

In January 2018, members of the extremist group set Crimean mufti Emirali Ablayev’s house on fire with Molotov cocktails. "They were promised 500 dollars for each event carried out in Crimea," the Center reported. In April, one of the extremist group members - Steshenko - was detected when entering the territory of Crimea where he had been sent by Veliyev to prepare and commit provocations in the run-up to an anniversary of the signing of the law "On the measures to rehabilitate the Armenian, Bulgarian, Greek, Crimean Tatar and German peoples and on state support for their resurgence and development" by the Russian president. A criminal case was launched under Part 2 Article 167 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Deliberate destruction or damage to property inflicted in a dangerous way") over the arson of an Interior Ministry facility in Crimea.

Investigators from the Federal Security Service Directorate for Crimea and Sevastopol launched criminal cases for offences under Parts 1 and 1.1 Article 282.1 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Establishment of an extremist group and recruitment of people for activity in an extremist group") against Veliyev and under Part 2 Article 282.1 ("Participation in an extremist group") against Steshenko and Tretyakov.

"Extremist group members Veliyev and Tretyakov were sentenced in absentia under the corresponding Criminal Code articles. Both were put on the federal wanted list," the Center for Public Relations added.

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