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May 8, 2021

Crimes of Ukrainian Aidar battalion confirmed in Amnesty Int’l report

An Amnesty International report has confirmed that war crimes including abductions, executions and extortion were committed by the Ukrainian Aidar battalion in Lugansk region, eastern Ukraine, an official from Russia’s Foreign Ministry says.
“The report confirms large-scale crimes, including war crimes made routinely and under the aegis of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, by the leaders and members of the Aidar battalion,” said Konstantin Dolgov, the Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, according to Reuters.
“Amnesty International points only to some of these crimes – abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, including demanding ransom for abducted Ukrainians, and simple robbery from the civilian population,” Dolgov said.
He added that Russian authorities have repeatedly called on international organizations, including Amnesty International, to pay more attention to large-scale human rights violations during Kiev’s so-called “anti-terrorist operation” in eastern Ukraine.
“We hope that the report on Aidar’s battalion crimes will attract more attempts in these sphere because the atrocities of Aidar members is only a part of sinister crimes committed by the punishers,” he said, “All these crimes, including the May 2 bloodshed in Odessa should be objectively investigated under effective international control and the culprits should be brought to justice.”
Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, has called for urgent investigation of the shelling in eastern Ukraine.
“We call all sides of the conflict to restrain their forces from any war crimes, any violations of the international humanitarian law and do everything in their power to protect civilians and their lives,” Shetty said.
All allegations of abuses should be investigated, he said, adding: “I call upon the Ukrainian government to do everything in their power to provide the humanitarian assistance which internally displaced people urgently require, as winter is approaching.”
In its report, released September 8 and titled “Ukraine: abuses and war crimes by the Aidar volunteer battalion in the north Lugansk region,” Amnesty International said: “Members of the Aidar territorial defense battalion, operating in the north Luhansk (Lugansk) region, have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.”
According to Amnesty, “members of the Aidar battalion act with virtually no oversight or control, and local police are either unwilling or unable to address the abuses.”
“Some of the abuses committed by members of the Aidar battalion amount to war crimes, for which both the perpetrators and, possibly, the commanders would bear responsibility under national and international law.”
Amnesty called upon the Kiev authorities “to bring Aidar and other volunteer battalions under effective lines of command and control, promptly investigate all allegations of abuses, and hold those responsible to account.”

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