NewsEuropeRussian Supreme Court declares Azov regiment a terrorist group

    Russian Supreme Court declares Azov regiment a terrorist group

    The Russian Supreme Court declared Ukraine’s Azov Regiment a terrorist group. In response, the United States through the Treasury Department announced on Tuesday the application of new sanctions against Russian officials and companies. While the UN Refugee Agency reported that more than 10 million Ukrainians have crossed the country’s borders fleeing the war.

    This Tuesday the Azov regiment of Ukraine was declared by the Supreme Court of Russia as a terrorist group. According to kyiv, the objective is that the captured soldiers be tried under anti-terrorist laws and also that they can be sent to prison with sentences of up to 20 years.

    The Supreme Court approved the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, who had been making the request since May of this year, when the Russians took control of the port of Mariupol, at which time a large part of the members of Azov were captured by the Russians. .

    “Recognize the Ukrainian paramilitary unit Azov – including other names used by the Azov battalion – as a terrorist organization and ban its activities on the territory of the Russian Federation. The decision on the banning of the organization’s activities is subject to immediate implementation. The decision can be appealed to the appeal board of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation within one month from the date of its adoption in the final form,” said Alla Nazarova, a judge of the Supreme Court of Russia.

    Reading of the verdict of the Supreme Court in the press room of the Supreme Court. ©Reuters

    The Russian Instruction Committee assures that it has been collecting evidence of the crimes committed by the regiment against the population for months, with special attention to the Donbass region.

    The pro-Russian separatists also accuse more than 500 members of the regiment and other Ukrainian battalions for alleged war crimes, for which some Russian deputies have called for the death penalty to be applied to them and for the exchange of Azov members for Russian soldiers captured by the Ukrainian Army.

    Last Friday, Russia reported the death of more than 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were in the prison of the city of Olenivka, in the custody of Russian separatists, among the deceased, it is presumed that many belonged to the Azov forces .

    Satellite images on Saturday (July 30) of the Olenivka prison.
    Satellite images on Saturday (July 30) of the Olenivka prison. © Maxar Technologies

    Before the announcement of the Russian Supreme Court, the regiment expressed in a statement that Moscow tries to justify its actions and reiterated the call to the US State Department to classify Russia as a terrorist state.

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    “After the public execution of prisoners of war from the Azov regiment in Olenivka, Russia is seeking new excuses and explanations for its war crimes,” the unit said in the statement, referring to the bombing that killed 50 prisoners of war in Olenivka prison and for which kyiv accuses Moscow.

    After the pro-Russian uprising in the Donetsk region in 2014, the Azov regiment was created with ultra-nationalist and far-right foundations, since then it has become one of the armed groups that has most clashed with Russia in eastern Ukraine. .

    Moscow, for its part, has assured on several occasions that one of its objectives is to free Ukraine from the presence of groups such as the Azov Regiment, which it has described as “fascists” and “Nazis”.

    Archive image of members of the Azov Battalion.
    Archive image of members of the Azov Battalion. ©Cope

    However, the relatives of the prisoners of war who were in the Olenivka prison reject the statements of the authorities in Moscow and the announcement of the Court, stating that “they are not terrorists. They bravely defended themselves. They showed all their power and strength, going beyond what was considered possible. They are not terrorists, they are heroes,” said Alina, the wife of a soldier from the Azov Regiment who preferred not to give her last name for security reasons.

    Despite the circumstances, the relatives hope that the lives of the prisoners who were left alive will be respected and they remain hopeful that at some point they will be able to return home.

    “We are currently in a very uncertain situation. We thought that they would be safe in Olenivka, we thought that nothing could be worse than Azovstal. It turned out that it could be, because of what happened on the 29th,” Alina said.

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    They also denounced that they do not have any type of information from the international authorities about the lives of their relatives.

    “We have a lot of questions for the UN and the Red Cross, and there have been no answers for them. I am witnessing a complete inaction on your behalf, a refusal to fulfill your responsibilities. That’s all I can say for now,” she asserted.

    The United States imposes new sanctions against Russia

    This Tuesday, the United States announced new sanctions against Russia, this time against companies, the military, officials and people close to the president.

    On the list is Alina Kabaeva, who according to the United States heads a group of Russian media organizations and maintains a close relationship with President Vladimir Putin, although he has denied that they are romantically linked.

    The US Treasury Department said in a statement that Kabaeva, 39, is the leader of the pro-Kremlin National Media Group and that she was sanctioned “for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive or board member.” directive of the Government of the Russian Federation”.

    Kabaeva had been targeted for sanctions since April, but these had not been carried out in the face of the possible retaliation that could ensue from Putin for their close relationship, but this did not prevent her from being sanctioned by the European Union and the United Kingdom.

    File photo of President Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabaeva.
    File photo of President Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabaeva. REUTERS – Itar Tass

    The Department’s statement includes in its sanctions one of the largest Russian steel producers in the world and its majority owner and chairman of the board of directors, Viktor Rashnikov, according to the Treasury is one of the largest taxpayers in Moscow and generates large revenues for the state.

    The Putin government, a day before the publication of the Treasury Department list, announced that in the face of the United States’ onslaught against its industries, the country will consider buying and storing metals to offer supplies to national steelmakers.

    Three other Russian businessmen were accused of being “Putin enablers”, while the text also announces limitations for 24 defense and technology companies with the aim, according to the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, of “further isolating the Russia’s high-tech and defense industries and limit their contributions to Moscow’s war machine.

    Others affected will be 893 Russian officials and members of the army who are being subject to visa restrictions for participating in Moscow’s actions against Ukraine. 31 foreign officials are also sanctioned for their support for the annexation of Crimea by Russia, but without publishing which nations they belong to.

    “The United States will not waver in its support for the brave people of Ukraine and will continue to promote accountability for President Putin and his cronies, whose actions have caused so much suffering and destruction in Ukraine,” Blinken said in a separate statement from the Department. of the Treasury.

    Another of those sanctioned is Andrey Gurvey, a member of the Russian elites whom the Treasury described as “a close collaborator with Putin”, also pointing to a yacht allegedly owned by him with the flag of the Cayman Islands, called Alfa Nero, bought by the tycoon in 2014 and valued at more than 120 million dollars.

    More than 10 million Ukrainians have fled the war

    The number of people who decide to leave Ukraine for different European countries continues to grow steadily, since the armed conflict with Russia began on February 24. Almost a quarter of the population has left the country fleeing the war.

    According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the figure is close to 10,300,000, that is, more than 24% of the population has left their homes in Ukrainian territory.

    The figures until this first of August point out that of the more than 10 million people who left, 5,084,448 arrived in Poland, 1,952,037 in Russia, 1,082,649 in Hungary, 953,086 in Romania (until July 31), 645,819 to Slovakia, 555,318 to Moldova (figure up to July 31) and 16,682 to Belarus.

    Photo of Ukrainian refugees at the Humanitarian Aid Center installed in the Global Expo exhibition hall in Warsaw, on July 15.
    Photo of Ukrainian refugees at the Humanitarian Aid Center installed in the Global Expo exhibition hall in Warsaw, on July 15. AFP – DAMIEN SIMONART

    In 2021 the population was estimated at approximately 41 million inhabitants, so the number of people who have crossed the borders makes the exodus the fastest from Europe since the Second World War.

    However, the agency also reported that approximately 3.7 million citizens have returned to Ukraine.

    With EFE, AP and Reuters

    Source: France 24

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