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Amnesty International Chief Says Kiev Responsible For Volunteer Battalion Actions

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Kiev is responsible for its volunteer battalions' actions in eastern Ukraine, Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said Wednesday.

Updated 3:35 p.m. Monday time

MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev is responsible for its volunteer battalions' actions in eastern Ukraine, Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said Wednesday.

“For the Aidar battalion or the other volunteer battalions, the Ukrainian government has ultimate accountability,” Shetty said.

“When it comes to war crimes, accountability goes to the very top of the command structure or the authority structure. So there is no ambiguity on this,” he added.

Amnesty International has raised the issue with the Ukrainian authorities, who did “demonstrate certain level of concern and recognition” about the actions of volunteer battalions but have been reluctant to take any decisive measures, Senior Director for Research at Amnesty International Anna Neistat told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

On Monday, Amnesty International released a report, saying that the Aidar Volunteer Battalion operating in the north Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, has been involved in “widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.”

According to Amnesty International, the Aidar Battalion is one of over thirty so-called volunteer battalions that have emerged in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict and have been integrated into Ukraine’s security structures.

Ukrainian forces launched a military operation against independence supporters in the country’s southeastern regions in mid-April.

On September 5, a ceasefire agreement was signed between the Kiev authorities and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, at the Minsk meeting of the trilateral Contact Group on the Ukrainian crisis (Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).

The ceasefire came into force at 15:00 GMT the same day, but both the Ukrainian military and independence fighters have since accused each other of violating the agreement.

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