‘Last fight’? Ukraine nationalist leader calls on army, National Guard to stop obeying Kiev
“Nobody can take away our right to a last fight,” Yarosh wrote on his Facebook page, calling the Ukrainian government “traitors.”
“Let’s stop betrayers who hold high offices and want to destabilize the situation in the enemy’s rear and …dismiss the volunteer movements,” he said, accusing the Ukrainian authorities of being “bandits” only interested in making money.
“While we are shedding our blood defending our Motherland, they [authorities] are making fortunes and doing everything they can so that the war will continue as long as possible.”
The heated statement comes amid the ongoing crisis in the western Ukrainian town of Mukacheve, close to the Hungarian and Slovakian borders, where the Ukrainian Security Service and National Guard are pressing on with an operation against armed members of the Right Sector.
Right Sector militants, trapped in the outskirts of Mukachevo after deadly clashes with police, are refusing to lay down their arms without orders from their leaders. Civilians in the area have been evacuated, as negotiations so far have failed.
On Friday, the Right Sector created three of its own checkpoints in an attempt to prevent any reinforcements from reaching Mukachevo. Two of the outposts are on the border with Poland, and the third on the border with Belarus.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued an order on July 13, requiring security forces to disarm all illegal armed groups. The nationalists responded by saying that the order was not applicable to their own volunteer organization.
“The statement by Petro Poroshenko is addressed to illegal armed groups. We are not an illegal armed group. Illegal armed groups are bandits, and we are volunteer Ukrainian corps, which protects the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Therefore, this statement does not apply to us,” said Right Sector spokesman Artem Skoropadsky.
The conflict erupted on July 11, and is believed to have been triggered by an on-going “turf war” between Right Sector members and local MP Mikhail Lanyo, who controls many businesses in the area. Several people were killed and more than ten were wounded following a shootout between local police and Right Sector militants.
The extremist organization insists that it was not they who provoked the violence, but the police, who they claim are in bed with a corrupt politician controlling the smuggling channels in the mountainous Carpathian region.
A large part of the Right Sector militants taking part in the standoff are believed to be in hiding in the forests around Mukacheve.
The group issued a list of five demands they say must be fulfilled in order to avoid further escalation in Mukacheve. They are demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, the prosecution of local authorities in Carpathian region, and a separate legal action against local MP Mikhail Lanyo and his “gang,” as well as the release of those the group calls “prisoners of the new regime.”
The ultranationalist group has also been calling for a new round of mass protests on Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan) to stand up against the current government in power. They have also hacked the Twitter account of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.
One of the hacked tweets released by the group warned: “While crooks and oligarchs remain in control in Ukraine – Maidan 3.0 is unavoidable,” referring to the Maidan protests in late 2013 and early 2014, in which the Right Sector helped oust President Viktor Yanukovich.