Special forces shot dead a far-right Ukrainian leader early on Tuesday in an incident which is likely to raise tensions between Kiev’s new interim government and restive ultra-nationalist groups.
Oleksander Muzychko – known as Sashko Bily, or Sasha the White – was killed in a shootout in the western city of Rivne, Ukraine‘s interior ministry said. Police tried to arrest him in a cafe when he opened fire on them, they added.
Muzychko was a prominent member of Praviy Sektor, a far-right paramilitary outfit which took part in the Maidan uprising against the then president, Viktor Yanukovych. The group has no role in government, although its leader Dmytro Yarosh has announced he intends to stand in May’s presidential election. His volunteers occupy several buildings in the capital. Russia points to Praviy Sektor as evidence that Yanukovych’s overthrow last month was a “fascist coup”.
On Tuesday Yarosh demanded that Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, resign over the killing. Avakov, however, refused. Unrepentant, he said his ministry would take tough measures against any “armed bandits” – whatever their political orientation – if they threatened public order.