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22 Mar, 2014 19:15

Ukraine's Right Sector radical group to become political party, nominates Yarosh for president

Ukraine's Right Sector radical group to become political party, nominates Yarosh for president

The ultra-nationalist Right Sector movement has decided to become a political party, while slamming current authorities in Kiev and demanding early parliamentary elections. The group has nominated its leader, Dmitry Yarosh, as a presidential candidate.

As of today, the Ukrainian National Assembly (UNA) – which dates back to 1990 and was regarded as a far-right political organization in Ukraine – has ceased to exist, instead transforming into the Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) party, Igor Mazur, the party’s Kiev branch leader, said after the UNA meeting on Saturday.

He added that the leaders of UNA branches – the Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNSO), a paramilitary force, and Trizub (the ultra-right Stepan Bandera All-Ukrainian Organization) – have agreed to join the Right Sector.

The Right Sector also slammed the coup-appointed authorities in Kiev, including the acting president, Aleksandr Turchinov, saying that he is playing “undercover games.”

“Turchinov should have reported to the Ukrainian people a long time ago,” said party member Andrey Denisenko. “Even the Maidan from the tribune of which the opposition leaders reported [to the people] every day has gradually calmed down. This may be some kind of indecisiveness or maybe some undercover games that have already hurt many Ukrainians. We must understand that these authorities are not in their place, so we consider the need to hold early parliamentary elections in the near future.”

Denisenko added that the party has nominated Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh as its candidate for president. Yarosh had declared his intentions of running for Ukrainian president in May. However, according to a recent poll conducted by Ukrainian research group SOCIS about presidential election preferences, only 1.6 percent are ready to vote for Yarosh.

Russia put Yarosh on an international wanted list and charged him with inciting terrorism after he urged Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov to launch attacks on Russia over the Ukrainian conflict. The ultra-nationalist leader has also threatened to destroy Russian pipelines on Ukrainian territory.

Yarosh, together with Igor Mazur and other UNA-UNSO members, was put on the wanted list by Russia last Friday for participation in hostilities against Russian soldiers in Chechnya in 1994-95, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Yarosh entered the international spotlight during the anti-government rallies in Ukraine. He has headed Trizub since 2005. During the Maidan protests, the organization became the base of the Right Sector movement. Its members were very active in the violence which triggered the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich. Right Sector fighters used clubs, petrol bombs, and firearms against Ukrainian police and have been wearing Nazi insignia.