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Kiev disbanding notorious volunteer battalion, new unit under army control

March 02, 2015, 14:08 UTC+3 KIEV
The move follows the arrest of former Aidar battalion fighters claimed to be preparing transfer of weapons from the Ukraine’s restive Donbas region to Kiev
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© EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

KIEV, March 2 /TASS/. Ukraine's Defense Ministry is disbanding an armed militia group blamed for abuse during recent months of regional conflict, said to be out of control and with a splinter faction planning unrest in the capital.

Notorious punitive batallion Aidar is being replaced by a regular forces unit under army orders and headed by Lieutenant Colonol Yevgeny Ptashnik, spokesman for the General Staff Vladislav Seleznyov told reporters on Monday.

"A 24th Detached Ground Troops Assault Battalion has been formed on the basis of the Aidar volunteer battalion," Seleznyov said.

The move follows the arrest of former Aidar battalion fighters said by Luhansk regional administration head Gennady Moskal to be preparing transfer of weapons from the Ukraine’s restive Donbas region in a bid to promote social upheaval in Kiev.

"Part of this unit long ago defected from Aidar and was engaged in looting, robbery, racketeering, auto theft and other crimes in regions controlled by the Ukrainian side," Moskal's website said.

Moskal added that an attempt had been prevented to take an arsenal of weapons from the area of combat operations in Donbas to Kiev. The arms were meant for "destabilizing the situation" in the capital.

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