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Two Ukrainians Go On Trial In Chechnya

The Supreme Court of Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya has begun hearing the case of two Ukrainian citizens charged with fighting along Chechen separatists in the 1990s.

Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on September 15 that Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh had been charged with participating in a militant group's activities, murder, and attempted murder.

The fate of the two Ukrainians is murky. Some reports say they were both arrested in Russia last year, although others say one was kidnapped inside Ukraine. Where they have been held until the trial is also unclear.

Kyiv said it asked Moscow to allow Ukrainian officials to visit Karpyuk and Klykh, but Russian officials denied such appeals.

According to Markin, Karpyuk and Klykh were members of the group known as Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self-defense (UNA-UNSO) and arrived in Chechnya in 1994 to fight alongside Chechen separatists against Russia's federal troops.

Investigators say that Karpyuk and Klykh took part in military activities that left dozens of Russian soldiers dead and injured.

UNA-UNSO has been officially branded as extremist and banned in Russia.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax