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Ukrainian tycoons’ private battalions must be disarmed — Russia’s OSCE envoy

February 13, 2015, 13:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The paramilitary detachments and battalions on the big business tycoons’ payroll have lethal weapons at their disposal and there is no guarantee they will agree to obey Kiev, Russia’s OSCE envoy says
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© EPA/KONSTANTIN GRISHIN

MOSCOW, February 13. /TASS/.There is no certainty the hired paramilitary battalions on the payroll of Ukrainian big business tycoons will support peace settlement, Russia’s OSCE envoy Andrey Kelin said at a meeting of the organization’s Permanent Council on Friday. A transcript of his statement was placed on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The paramilitary detachments and battalions on the big business tycoons’ payroll have lethal weapons at their disposal," Kelin said. "How can one guarantee these armed groups, not subordinate to the central command in Kiev, will agree to obey something?" he said. "In fact, these are the illegal armed groups mentioned in the Minsk Accords."

"There is no certainty they will support a peace settlement," Kelin said. "They must be disarmed and pulled out of the zone of the conflict. Arming these groups with more hardware, including foreign, would have catastrophic effects."

Kelin said with regret that "many of our counterparts prefer to turn a blind eye on the activities of Ukraine’s Right Sector group, battalion Azov, which uses Nazi emblems, and Aidar battalion, notorious for robberies and violence against civilians, and other such forces."

"It is very risky to think that these so-called ‘patriots’ defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Kelin said.

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