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    Ukrainian Nazi Militants to Face Trial for War Crimes - German Media

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    Several members of Kiev’s voluntary battalions, once touted as heroes, will soon be tried for committing atrocities against war prisoners, Der Spiegel wrote on Friday.

    “Awaiting trial in a Kiev jail is Ruslan Onishchenko, a criminal-turned-hero and now a criminal again. The commander of the now disbanded Tornado voluntary battalion, which fought in Donbass,” Der Spiegel wrote.

    Ruslan Onishchenko was arrested in June along with seven of his men.

    Onishchenko, who has five previous convictions for crimes including robbery, kidnapping and extortion, is now suspected of setting up a gang that committed numerous offences between January and March 2015, according to Ukrainian Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios.

    The crimes allegedly include electrocutions, at least one gang rape of a man and other cases of prisoner abuse carried out by Tornado battalion members and captured on video.

    It has not been long since Ruslan Onishchenko was touted as a national hero commended, among many others, by the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Filaret.

    Because the Tornado battalion was an Interior Ministry unit prosecutors had a hard time indicting its members.

    “They were eventually arrested away from the frontlines, in Kiev, armed to the teeth with submachine guns and hand grenades,” the magazine wrote.

    Ukraine’s volunteer battalions, including Donbas, Azov and Dnipr were set up following the start of Kiev's military operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in April, 2014. In November, the volunteer units were placed under the command of the Ukrainian Army.

    A number of humanitarian organizations, including Amnesty International, insist that the Ukrainian government is responsible for the war crimes and human rights abuses committed by volunteer battalions in southeastern Ukraine.


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    atrocities, trial, Ukrainian Interior Ministry, Tornado volunteer battalion, Patriarch Filaret, Anatoly Matios, Ruslan Onishchenko, Ukraine
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