Updated 10:39 a.m. Moscow time
MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow hopes that a recent report by the Amnesty International on war crimes in Ukraine, including those committed by the Aidar Volunteer Batallion, will help to draw international attention to the problem, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
“The report states rightfully that despite the patriotic image of Aidar, promulgated by the Kiev and Western propaganda, this formation has bad reputation among Ukrainian citizens for its crimes, atrocities and outright banditry,” the ministry said in a statement. “We hope that the report about Aidar’s crimes would help to consolidate efforts on this issue, because atrocities committed by Aidar are only a part of a vast amount of sinister crimes committed by those taking part in the punitive operation.”
“The report confirms large-scale crimes, including war crimes, committed by the command and ordinary members of the Aidar Batallion on a daily basis with the connivance of Ukraine’s law enforcement bodies. Amnesty International mentions only some of them, such as abduction, illegal arrest, beatings, extortion that includes ransom for the release of kidnapped Ukrainians, and pillaging of civilian property,” the ministry said.
“The report confirms large-scale crimes, including war crimes, committed by the command and ordinary members of the Aidar Batallion on a daily basis with the connivance of Ukraine’s law enforcement bodies,” the ministry said adding that the report mentions only some of the crimes.
“All these crimes, including the bloody battle in Odesa this May, should be unbiasedly investigated under the effective international control and those guilty should be held accountable,” the statement said.
In its Monday report, Amnesty International said the Aidar battalion, operating in the north Luhansk region, has been involved in “widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.”
Amnesty International's Secretary General Salil Shetty told Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk Monday that the Kiev regime should stop abuses and war crimes by volunteer battalions operating alongside government troops.
According to the Amnesty International, the Aidar battalion is one of over thirty so-called volunteer battalions that have emerged in the wake of the conflict and have been integrated into Ukraine’s security structures.
A two-week research mission to the region has found that some of the abuses committed by “members of the Aidar battalion amount to war crimes, for which both the perpetrators and, possibly, the commanders would bear responsibility under national and international law.”
Since mid-April, Kiev has been carrying out a military operation against the independence supporters in the country’s southeastern regions. According to the United Nations, the armed conflict has killed over 2,500 and injured around 6,000 civilians.