The list of crimes includes “a mass of incidents of kidnapping, extortion, torture, robbery and the illegal use of weapons” along the front line, Moskal wrote. His allegations come days after the battalion’s former commander, Sergei Melnichuk, was stripped of his parliamentary immunity by the Verkhovna Rada.

Melnichuk, of the “People’s Will” faction, now faces charges for the illegal formation of armed groups, although the Verkhovna Rada stopped short of approving his arrest on June 3.

“Once again, I would like to stress that part of Aidar is actually defending the territorial integrity of Ukraine on the front line, with weapons in their hands, while another part has decided to make money off of war. In the list, only 25 percent of the crimes are heinous and high profile — including kidnapping civil servants and demanding ransom, resisting the work of law enforcement bodies and robbing entrepreneurs, etc.,” Moskal wrote on his official website on June 8.


Moskal claims that many members of the volunteer battalion were not officially registered at the time the crimes were committed, though they were nonetheless given weapons and Aidar badges while Melnichuk was in charge.

In total, the list includes 65 separate crimes, all of which took place throughout 2014. In the online statement, Moskal explained the list’s publication by saying the Verkhovna Rada had given consent to investigate crimes committed only in the Kyiv and Zhitomorsk regions, not Luhansk.

“But victims (of Aidar’s crimes) and their relatives appeal to me every day, asking if the perpetrators will ever be punished,” he wrote. “What am I supposed to tell them, that Melnichuk will be charged only for (crimes) in Kyiv and Zhitomirsk?”

The General Prosecutor’s office has accused Melnichuk and several members of the battalion of attacking private enterprises in the Luhansk Oblast, an allegation which Melnichuk has denied.


Melnychuk was unavailable for comment on the latest allegations against him. In an interview with Ukrainian media days earlier, however, he scoffed at the accusations.

“From the very first day (of the conflict), we were a part of the armed forces, and the accusation that we created an armed gang … well then that means the Defense Ministry created an armed gang, that it was initiated by (Sergei) Pashinskyi, as the General Prosecutor explained that whoever took part in this gang is a member of it. There were so many volunteers all over Ukraine; this means they were all members of a gang, apparently,” Melnichuk said in an interview with television channel 112 Ukraine on June 2.

Mykola Grekov, an Aidar officer in Luhansk, told the Kyiv Post that Aidar insignia could easily be purchased by ordinary people, meaning anyone could impersonate members of the group and commit crimes.

“Everyone thinks there is some conflict between Aidar and Moskal, but that’s just not possible. We work together, we are subordinate to him. He was just presenting information that was presented to him (with this list of crimes), and if it is proven that these crimes were committed by Aidar members, they will face charges,” he said.


“But we are a part of Ukraine’s armed forces, not some gang of bandits like people think,” he said.

The Aidar Battalion has found itself at the center of several scandals in the region, including the alleged armed takeover of a bread factory, which Moskal in April asked the Defense Ministry to liberate from the “armed militants,” who he said had been stealing money and tearing up equipment.

In mid-March, Moskal said three members of the battalion had drunkenly burst into a resident’s home before beating up the owner and orchestrating a shoot-out in the street.

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