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Ukrainian Monitors Record 137 Episodes Of Violence, Confrontation By Ultraright Groups

Activists from the Ukrainian C14 far-right group picket the Security Service building in Kyiv on December 5, 2016.
Activists from the Ukrainian C14 far-right group picket the Security Service building in Kyiv on December 5, 2016.

There were 137 recorded incidents of confrontation and violence committed by ultraright groups in Ukraine over a one-year period from October 14, 2018, a monitoring report by a Ukrainian public advocacy organization stated.

Conducted by the Kyiv-based Institute Respublica and financed by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Germany, the report on January 20 stated that most acts of violence and confrontation during the one-year period were committed by two groups: C14 and National Corps.

Forty such cases were attributed to C14, of which 25 were "of a violent nature," including 10 violent incidents toward people.

Thirty episodes were attributed to National Corps, the political wing of the far-right Azov movement, of which 21 were of a violent nature, including 15 toward people.

According to Oksana Dutchak, Institute Respublica’s resident sociologist, the group documented 48 cases of a "confrontational nature" and 89 incidents of violence toward people or property.

The most incidents of violence and confrontation -- 23 -- were recorded in November 2018.

There were 14 incidents of violence committed against feminist or lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists; 13 against political party members; 12 against representatives of state or law enforcement institutions; four against journalists; four against business representatives; three against artists; and two against ethnic minorities or migrants.

"Ultraright violence continues to be systematic, regular and, with very rare exceptions, committed with impunity," Maksym Butkevych, a human rights activist and coordinator of the Without Borders project, told RFE/RL. "Impunity encourages a continuance of violent practices; it 'beckons' those who resort to violence…to do it again."

The National Corps Party and its semimilitary wing, the National Militia, belong to the so-called Azov movement. The latter was established by radically-minded former soldiers of the current Azov National Guard special purpose unit.

Azov started off in 2014 as a volunteer battalion, which fought in important battles against Russia-backed forces in eastern Ukraine, including in the liberation of the port city Mariupol, the Donetsk region's second-largest city.

The U.S. State Department last year labeled the National Corps and C14 as "nationalist hate groups."

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