Oleg Sukhov
March 4, 2014

Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case on terrorism-related charges against the leader of a Ukrainian nationalist group widely seen as the driving force behind former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin on Monday said Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the ultranationalist group Right Sector, was wanted for “public appeals to commit acts of terrorism” on Russian soil and acts of extremism, charges that carry up to seven and five years in prison, respectively.

Investigators say Yarosh posted a statement on the group’s Vkontakte page urging the Islamist insurgent leader Doku Umarov — often referred to as Russia’s equivalent of Bin Laden — to join Ukraine in fighting the Kremlin. The Right Sector has denied the charges, however, saying that people hired by the Kremlin had hacked the group’s official Vkontakte page and written a fake appeal to Umarov that was falsely attributed to Yarosh.

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