Crimean Tatar extremists clash with Ukrainians, army intervenes


February 13, 2017 – Fort Russ – 

By J. Arnoldski – based on PolitNavigator reports (1,2,3)

Militants of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, an organization banned in Russia for extremism, provoked a firefight in Ukraine’s Kherson region on the border with Crimea. As a result, the Ukrainian army has disarmed them and destroyed their camp. 

Ex-Verkhovna Rada deputy Aleksey Zhuravko reported on his blog: “Information is coming in from the Chongar Genichesk district of the Kherson region. A conflict broke out between residents and Islyamov’s Tatar battalion that runs rampant in the region. As residents have reported, a firefight broke out. One person was killed and one was wounded. The head of Ukraine’s regional internal affairs department has left the scene.” 

Zhuravko continued: “Witnesses say that the Tatar battalion began holding up passers-by. One of them was beaten. As a result, the victim called the National Guard, which stood up for those attacked. Someone from the Islyamov battalion pulled out a rifle and opened fire.”

“Now,” Zhuravko’s account went on, “people say that reinforcements are coming from Dnepropetrovsk. Rumor has it that they’re from Right Sector. Now the road is being blocked by unidentified armed men, and shooting can be heard. People are freaked out. There is the feeling that fighting has begun again.” 

“Earlier I passed on information that Right Sector and Islyamov battalions had joined forces at block posts to continue the blockade of Crimea. Here are the results of this so-called blockade: civilians continue to suffer,” Zhurakvo concluded.

Reports have since come in that the Mejlis militants’ base in Kherson region has been completely destroyed by an operation conducted by the 57th brigade of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The infamous Ukrainian nationalist and ex-leader of the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self-Defense, Dmitry Korchinsky, despite having earlier said that Crimean Tatars are temporary allies of Ukrainian nationalists, praised the operation: “The Islyamov grouping that was located in the Kherson region is dangerous. It’s good that the Ukrainian Armed Forces disarmed it.” 

Korchinsky further justified his appraisal by asserting that Crimean Tatar leader Islyamov is a traitor to the “Muscovites” who “in the case of an escalation on the border with occupied Crimea could be utilized by his former Muscovite bosses.” 

Korchinsky qualified: “We are allies only as long as [the Mejlis] do not threaten our national and territorial integrity.”

Gennady Sivak, a Ukrainian celebrity and Crimea native who is known for his harsh criticism of the Mejlis as “ISIS terrorists,” offered PolitNavigator his assessment of the events: 

“The operation was carried out by a battalion stationed in Genichesk. An armored personnel carrier and Ural came. Witnesses on the spot this morning said everything [of the Mejlis camp] was raised to the ground and the whole tent city was crushed. The military seized a large amount of unregistered firearms including mortars, grenade launchers, rifles, and machine guns. All the data is being processed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.”

“There are several version of what happened,” Savik continued, “The first and main one is that the official Kiev authorities quarreled badly with the Mejlis. The battalion had not been allowed to register for a long time. And a new trend has begun in Ukraine: everyone who is not registered is disarmed.” 

“The second theory is that the Mejlis battalion simply became a threat. They had accumulated so many weapons that at any moment the militants could have provoked some kind of trick. Most of them are not normal and use drugs. Complaints are frequently received from local residents that the battalion is constantly unintentionally shooting off firearms,” according to Savik.

Savik voiced another rumor: “And there’s another theory. They say that the registration of all volunteer battalions in Ukraine proceeded in such a way that everyone had to bring large bribes to Avakov. But these [Mejlis] didn’t bring anything.”

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“No one has confirmed the rumor that a Ukrainian soldier was killed, but it is unofficially said that a Tatar suffered, who was allegedly ran over by an armored personnel carrier while the Ukrainian Armed Forces carried out the operation without losses,” Savik concluded. 

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