Right Sector Members Leave Headquarters After Police Standoff
- By Anna Dolgov
- Apr. 01 2014 11:32
- Last edited 11:32
Members of the Ukrainian ultranationalist group Right Sector have left their hotel headquarters without their weapons after the building was surrounded by police in the aftermath of a shooting in central Kiev, acting Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said.
Ukrainian police had surrounded the Dnepr Hotel after detaining an ultranationalist activist suspected of opening fire in central Kiev and injuring three people, Avakov said in a post on his Facebook page, later following up in a comment by saying that the Right Sector members had left and police were investigating the abandoned building.
Police had demanded that the natonalists put down their weapons and leave the Dnepr Hotel in central Kiev by Tuesday morning, though Avakov said that his officers had no plans to storm the building.
Several dozen men armed with automatic weapons are believed to have holed up in the Dnepr Hotel, according to witness accounts, the Interior Ministry said in an online statement.
Right Sector activist Andriy Kozyubchik has been detained on suspicion of opening fire outside a restaurant in central Kiev on Monday night, Avakov said, Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reported. He added that the "shooter was drunk."
The deputy chief of Kiev's municipal administration, Bohdan Dubas, was among those injured in the shootout, though investigators believe he was not targeted intentionally, an unidentified law-enforcement official said, Interfax-Ukraine reported. Dubas has been treated for his injuries and discharged from the hospital.
Two more victims, whom the Interior Ministry identified as a member of the Maidan self-defense unit, remained hospitalized.
Ukraine's Interior Ministry started a sweep of arrests last week against the Right Sector after its activists threatened revenge for the killing of one of their leaders, Oleksandr Muzychko, by Ukrainian police forces in an attempt to arrest him.
Right Sector was a significant force in the street protests that ousted Ukraine's previous administration, but has since had a falling-out with the country's new and moderate pro-European government.
Muzychko, who had fought against Russian troops during the first Chechnya war of 1994-96, was wanted both in Russia for alleged war atrocities, and in Ukraine for assaulting a regional prosecutor in February.