08:07 GMT09 May 2021
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    Ukrainian investigators opened criminal cases against the so-called volunteer battalions including a case against former Aidar Battalion Commander Serhiy Melnichuk, suspected of forming a criminal gang.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — Ukrainian investigators opened several criminal cases against pro-Kiev volunteer battalions operating in the conflict-torn Donbass region, the country's Prosecutor General, Viktor Shokin, said Tuesday.

    The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office is currently investigating a case against former Aidar Battalion Commander Serhiy Melnichuk, suspected of forming a criminal gang and facing life imprisonment if proven guilty.

    "Unfortunately, it [Aidar Battalion] is not the only one. We already have cases against the so-called volunteer battalions, and even more serious than Melnichuk's [case]," Shokin said in an interview published by the Voice of Ukraine paper, without specifying battalion names or details of the investigation.

    Aidar, along with other far-right Ukrainian battalions, such as Azov, Dnipro and Donbas, has been taking part in Kiev's military campaign against independence supporters in southeast Ukraine since April 2014. The volunteer battalions were put under the command of the Ukrainian Army in November 2014.

    International watchdogs, including Amnesty International, have repeatedly expressed concern over crimes against civilians committed by Ukrainian battalions and stated that the Ukrainian government is responsible for war crimes and human rights atrocities committed by volunteers.

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    Tags:
    investigation, Aidar battalion, Serhiy Melnichuk, Ukraine
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