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Amnesty International's Chief Urges Kyiv To Control Volunteer Militia

A volunteer for the Ukrainian paramilitary Azov Battalion waits on an armored vehicle, as pro-Russian separatists fire heavy artillery, on the outskirts of Mariupol on September 5.

Amnesty International's Secretary General Salil Shetty has urged Ukraine’s government to stop abuses and war crimes by volunteer soldiers who fight alongside government troops in eastern Ukraine.

Shetty made the remarks during a meeting in Kyiv with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on September 8, a day after Amnesty International reported “mounting evidence” of war crimes by both pro-government militia and pro-Russian separatists.

He said Ukraine must not replicate the abuses that have prevailed in areas previously held by separatists.

Shetty singled out “Aidar” -- one of more than 30 volunteer battalions loosely integrated into Ukraine’s security forces.

He said Aidar’s fighters have committed “abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, robbery, extortion, and possible executions.”

Shetty on September 9 and 10 is visiting Moscow, where he plans to urge Russian authorities to practice, ensure, and promote human rights in Russia and abroad.

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