MOSCOW, March 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators issued an international arrest warrant Wednesday for a Ukrainian nationalist leader who allegedly implored a wanted Chechen warlord to mount attacks against Russia.
The Investigative Committee said in a statement that Dmitry Yarosh, who heads the far right-wing Right Sector group, should be turned over to Russia for prosecution for the call that they said threatened its citizens.
Investigators charged Yarosh in absentia earlier this week with public endorsement of terrorist and extremist activities for a message he purportedly wrote last weekend on his group’s page on the Vkontakte social network.
The post urged Chechen warlord Doku Umarov to help fight against “Russian occupation of Ukraine,” saying that Ukrainians and natives of Russia’s North Caucasus shared “spilled blood.”
Umarov, the self-proclaimed head of a secessionist Islamic radical group in the North Caucasus, has claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks in Russia and, most recently, threatened to attack the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The allusion to occupation was seemingly a reference to Russia’s parliament on Saturday approving a request from President Vladimir Putin to use military action in an ostensibly peace-keeping capacity in Ukraine.
Thousands of unidentified troops under apparent command from Russia have taken control of Ukrainian military bases across the southern Ukrainian region of Crimea over the past week. Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have denied that Russian troops were already deployed, instead describing the well-armed troops seen driving around Crimea in vehicles bearing Russian military license plates as “local militia.”
Right Sector denied that Yarosh wrote the message and said the group’s Vkontakte account was hacked.
Russian communications watchdog has blocked access to the Vkontakte pages of 13 groups, including that of Right Sector, saying they promoted Ukrainian nationalist cells and called for terrorist activities on Russian territory.