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Ukraine's Defense Ministry has no control of Aidar volunteer battalion — regional chief

March 31, 2015, 16:30 UTC+3 KIEV
Regional chief Gennady Moskal has now appealed to Ukraine’s defense minister, military chiefs "regarding the unacceptable behaviour of the Aidar battalion in the Luhansk Region"
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Aidar fighters (archive)

Aidar fighters (archive)

© EPA/TASS/ROMAN PILIPEY

KIEV, March 31. /TASS/. Government-controlled regional authorities of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk Region have urged the state to bridle notorious nationalist battalion Aidar amid accusations from the local administration head that the Ministry of Defense has no sway over law enforcement units.

The Aidar battalion is known for its ferocity, said to be financed by Ukrainian tycoon Igor Kolomoysky, key figure in a confrontation with the capital in Kiev in recent days and now dismissed from his post as Dnipropetrovsk region governor.

Aidar has featured in numerous crime reports. Representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Ukraine have drawn public attention to its wrongdoings.

Regional chief Gennady Moskal has now appealed to Ukraine’s defense minister, military chiefs, the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor-General’s office "regarding the unacceptable behaviour of the Aidar battalion in the Luhansk Region."

"Armed ruffians have actually opened a second front in the peaceful areas," he said. "The battalion’s behaviour discredits Ukraine's armed forces. Absence of a response to its crimes makes those who commit them feel they may get away with them."

This is not the first time Moskal has appealed for action to curb Aidar activity, writing to President Petro Poroshenko in an earlier move that "it is necessary to put an end to the riotous behaviour of the voluntary battalions". "Those who engage in looting, foray and kidnapping should be sent to prison," he said.

Aidar and other nationalist units - the Donbas, Dniptopetrovsk and Azov combat groups and Ukraine’s National Guard - receive funding from the Ukrainian budget, Ukrainian tycoons and foreign donors.

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