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    An officer of volunteer battalion 'Donbas' holds battalion colours during a blessing ceremony in St. Michael Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

    Ukrainian Ex-Battalion Commander Calls for Regime Change in Kiev

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    If the government fails to tackle the problems confronting Ukraine, it needs to be replaced, a battalion commander-turned-MP warned in televised comments Friday.

    “Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any real changes happening here since August of last year, where it comes to our national security, defense or economics,” Semen Semenchenko, the ex-commander of the Donbass voluntary battalion and now a Verkhovna Rada deputy, said during the Shuster Live talk show aired on Friday.

    If the state fails to perform its constitutional duties then “it’s time for the people to join in the process of governance,” Semenchenko said.

    If the powers-that-be prove unable to change anything, the Ukrainians should not “feel depressed” but move quickly to change the government, the MP warned, adding that the “reset” should last until there was a “sufficient number of adequate and open-minded people” running the country.

    According to Semen Semenchenko’s interview to Ukrainian ICTV television channel in 2014, his real name is Konstantin Grishin. Born in Sevastopol, Konstantin, who is ethnically Russian, moved to Donetsk where he became notorious for a series of shady dealings as the owner of a satellite television firm.

    In the early 2000s Crimean police put him on their wanted list for committing a serious crime.

    Grishin was never arrested and eventually cropped up in Kiev where he became actively involved in the 2014 Maidan coup.

    Shortly after the outbreak of the war in eastern Ukraine, he organized the Donbass voluntary battalion which he led in combat against the pro-independence militia in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk  People’s Republics.

    Semenchenko made his entry into national politics prior to the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election. Appearing second on the party list of Samopomich, he was elected to the Verkhovna Rada.


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