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    In this photo taken on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, a Ukrainian government soldier points on a smoke after shelling near Illovaisk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine

    Moscow Launches Criminal Case Over Kiev Abducting Russian Volunteers in Donbass

    © AP Photo/ Evgeniy Maloletka
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    Moscow opened a criminal case over Ukraine's law enforcement abducting Russian citizens who volunteered to help Donbass refugees.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A criminal case has been launched into the 2014-2015 abductions by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies of Russian citizens in southeastern Ukraine, the Russian Investigative Committee said Monday.

    "A criminal case was opened on the basis of the crimes specified by Article 126 of the Russian Criminal Case (abduction)," Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said.

    The case covers a December 2014 abduction of a 36-year-old Russian volunteer who was freed two years later and an April 2015 abduction of a group of volunteers involved in providing assistance to Donbass refugees, Petrenko said.

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement brokered by the Normandy Four states (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine), the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.

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    Tags:
    Ukrainian crisis, Russian Investigative Committee, Svetlana Petrenko, Donbass, Russia, Ukraine
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