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Jail time for Ukrainian officer who 'misused' Nazi collaborator’s name referring to far-right mob

Jail time for Ukrainian officer who 'misused' Nazi collaborator’s name referring to far-right mob
A Ukrainian court sentenced a police officer who used the name of nationalist hero and Nazi henchman Stepan Bandera as a slur while scuffling with far-right rioters in Kiev. They walked free from custody, but the officer did not.

Vasily Melnikov, the officer in question, is now set to spend the next two months in a pre-trial detention facility although he may be released on a $4,240 bail. Local reports say the trial was closely watched by members of C14, a far-right group Melnikov was dispersing in a viral video that caused quite a stir across Ukraine.

Earlier this week, C14, whose name presumably refers to the fourteen-word white supremacy slogan, approached a police station in the Ukrainian capital. Riot police had to tackle assailants armed with knives, pepper sprays and a pistol. The brawl eventually got more violent when the far-right tried to storm the building.

“Get down, Bandera!” the officer is heard as he forces one of the mobsters onto the ground.

Stepan Bandera, a notorious nationalist figure, had actively worked with the Nazis before their 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. 

Police commanders were prompt to reflect on the violent clash, but instead of slamming violence against officers on duty, they lamented actions of their subordinates.

Instead, Sergey Knyazev, Chief of Ukrainian National Police, brought wordy apologies for the conduct of his rank and file. Later on, he launched ‘IAmBanderite’ hashtag on Facebook, as did the head of Ukraine’s patrol police Evgeny Zhukov.

READ MORE: Ukrainian police launch ‘I am Bandera’ flash mob after Nazi collaborator’s name is ‘misused’

“I am Bandera! I am a police officer! I serve the Ukrainian people!” the latter wrote on his page, pledging allegiance to militant ultranationalists who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. Bandera's henchmen have committed countless crimes against Jews, Poles and members of the Soviet Communist party on German-occupied territories.

Andryy Kryshchenko, chief of Kiev police, went even further, saying in a video statement: “Because of my understanding of the historical situation in Ukraine, I consider it unacceptable.” He lamented “some obscene vocabulary” and promised that “we have to do something about this.” 

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Ukrainian parliament had made the birthday of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera a national holiday last December, and thousands of Ukrainian radicals celebrated the day taking part in a torch-lit procession in Kiev.

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