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Ukraine’s notorious Tornado battalion gunman detained near Kiev

September 10, 2015, 9:48 UTC+3 KIEV
The gunman, an Islamic State (IS) adherent, gained notoriety for torturing local citizens of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, organized and participated in raping the detainees
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© File/ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin

KIEV, September 10. /TASS/. Ukraine’s law enforcers have detained a member of the Tornado battalion suspected of committing serious crimes in the military operation zone in Donbas, the country’s chief military prosecutor, Anatoly Matios, said on Thursday.

The gunman of Belarusian origin known as Modzhahed (mujahiddin or holy warrior), who had been in hiding for more than two months, was caught late on Wednesday in a hotel building near the Ukrainian capital, Matios wrote on his Facebook page.

Modzhahed "is suspected of committing serious and very serious crimes as part of a criminal organization involving some police personnel of Tornado patrol service [battalion] led by five-time convicted Ruslan Onischenko," he said.

The gunman, an Islamic State (IS) adherent, gained notoriety for torturing local citizens of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine "with special cynicism and impudence," and also organized and participated in raping the detainees, the chief military prosecutor said.

In mid-June, members of the Tornado battalion revolted after they had learnt that Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov was planning to disband the group. A considerable part of the Tornado battalion was made up of former convicts, many of whom have criminal records.

A month later, the conflict around Tornado battalion was not finished and its members were still present in the Kiev region, Matios said. He said the interior minister failed to ensure the implementation of his decree on disbanding the battalion.

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