Prosecutors within the self-proclaimed Lugansk Republic (LNR) have accused Roman Protasevich, the activist who was arrested when his aircraft was compelled to land in Minsk final month, of being a part of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.
The LNR is an unrecognized state situated in Ukraine, and has existed because the 2014 struggle in Donbass, when separatists unilaterally declared independence from Kiev. Founded in 2014, the Azov Battalion is an ultra-right army unit now integrated into the National Guard of Ukraine, and is loyal to Kiev.
On Wednesday, LNR Prosecutor General Sergey Gorenko claimed that he had obtained proof that Protasevich had taken half within the Donbass struggle on the aspect of Ukraine, preventing for the neo-Nazi militia.
Azov fought in the course of the top of the Donbass struggle, first seeing motion on the Battle of Mariupol. The group is closely linked to neo-Nazi ideology, with the regiment’s emblem that includes the Wolfsangel, an emblem of many divisions of the Nazi German Army throughout World War II. Joining the Azov Battalion is illegitimate in Donbass, in addition to in Belarus.
“Republican law enforcement managed to obtain sufficient irrefutable evidence of the involvement of the figure in the activities of the nationalist pro-Ukrainian ‘Azov’ group, which is banned in the LNR,” the prosecutor common mentioned in an announcement.
As reported earlier this month, LNR officers have already requested his extradition.
Protasevich, the editor of the opposition-aligned Belamova Telegram channel, classed by officers in Belarus as an ‘extremist organization’, was arrested in May after his Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was compelled by Minsk to land within the Belarusian capital as a consequence of a supposed bomb menace. However, Swiss supplier Proton Mail later claimed that the warning was despatched by way of electronic mail after the aircraft had already diverted, contradicting Belarusian authorities.
Shortly after his arrest, so-called proof was later produced about Protasevich’s service in Donbass. The activist has beforehand admitted to spending time within the space as a journalist, even noting that he was as soon as shot. However, he denies becoming a member of the battalion as a soldier.
This was later backed up by former Azov commander Andrey Biletsky.
“He was with us near Shirokino, where he was injured,” he defined. “But his weapon, as a journalist, was not a machine gun, but words.”
There are additionally June 2015 pictures of apparently the identical particular person (uniformed & armed) with the Azov formation on the annual Liberation of Mariupol occasion. Per @Azure, that particular person is with high-ish confidence Protasevich. pic.twitter.com/wwqloPBG2m
— Oleksiy Kuzmenko (@kooleksiy) June 2, 2021
Later, nonetheless, an previous interview of his father was found, during which he revealed that Protasevich “fought” in Donbass. Photos later emerged of somebody who seems to be like Protasevich holding a gun and carrying a uniform.
There can also be no file of him producing any journalism whereas he was within the area and connected to the battalion.
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