Dmitry Yarosh, leader of Ukraine's Right Sector nationalist party, is demanding the resignation of acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and the arrest of police officers involved in the killing of notorious radical militant Aleksandr Muzychko.
"We cannot watch silently as the Interior Ministry works to undermine the revolution," Interfax reported Yarosh as saying. “We demand the immediate resignation of the Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, and the arrest of the commander of the Sokol Special Forces and those guilty of [Muzychko’s] murder."
Earlier Tuesday, right-wing militant leader Muzychko, also known as Sashko Bilyi, was killed in a police raid against his gang in Rovno, western Ukraine, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Right Sector leaders threatened Avakov with revenge, though they did not specify exactly what they would do.
“We will take revenge on Arsen Avakov for the death of our brother,” said Roman Koval, the Right Sector organizer in Rovno, charivne.info news portal reported.
Koval claimed that the operation to kill Muzychko was ordered personally by Avakov, the acting Interior Minister.
Yarosh backed the claim, adding that the party views Muzychko’s killing as an assassination. The Right Sector leader said that the party understands that “many want to destabilize the situation in Ukraine,” but added that the nationalists “call for peace” and are doing everything in their power to prevent conflicts.
Muzychko is, however, known for stunts that are far from peaceful.
Following the coup in Kiev, the far-right militant refused to give up the weapons which he occasionally used to intimidate government officials in the city of Rovno, in western Ukraine. He threatened local authorities with an AK-47 and made openly anti-Semitic statements on videos which were then posted on YouTube.
Ukraine filed charges of hooliganism and obstructing law enforcement agencies against Muzychko on March 8. Four days later he was put on the Ukrainian police’s wanted list.
Avakov said in a reply to Right Sector that he accepts the far-right group’s challenge, adding that his stance toward lawbreakers will be harsh.
"If some gangsters threaten the minister, I accept this challenge and I am ready to accept any challenge, because that's my job,” Avakov said in a statement. “Henceforth my policy will be very harsh toward bandits, toward those who take up arms to violate order."
By “bandits,” Avakov said he was referring to people who loot enterprises or homes and possess unregistered guns.
Earlier, Russia put both Muzychnko and Yarosh on the international wanted list for allegedly torturing and murdering at least 20 captured Russian soldiers during the first Chechen War in 1994-1995.
On March 16, Yarosh threatened to sabotage Russian pipelines on the Ukrainian territory.
Yarosh has headed the ultra-right Stepan Bandera All-Ukrainian Organization Trizub since 2005. During the Maidan protests, the organization became the basis for the Right Sector movement.
On Saturday, the movement announced it would become a political party. In a statement it slammed the current authorities in Kiev and demanded early parliamentary elections, nominating Yarosh for president.
Right Sector members were very active in the violence which triggered the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich. The group’s fighters used clubs, petrol bombs and firearms against Ukrainian police and have been wearing Nazi insignia.
Author and broadcaster Neil Clark told RT why the allegations that Muzychko was “murdered” make perfect sense.
“The current government in Kiev came to power with the help
of the Right Sector. They wouldn’t have got the power without the
Right Sector. It was the force that was torching government
buildings, using the violence to get them into power. Now they’ve
become an embarrassment to them. I think there are two reasons
why this has happened.
“First of all the new authorities in Kiev want to get the Right Sector into government security operator organizations – they want them to join the National Guard, they want them to lay down their weapons , because they are frightened that they will be an alternative force in the country, which could threaten them in time. I think that the second reason is the PR angle. They are an embarrassment to the new government in Ukraine, which is being sold as a wonderfully progressive, democratic government,” he said.