MOSCOW, July 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Monday demanded that Sweden, Finland, the Baltic states and France conduct a thorough investigation into alleged involvement of mercenaries from these countries in hostilities in eastern Ukraine.
“We demand the authorities of the above-mentioned countries to conduct a thorough investigation into these facts and condemn the participation of mercenaries in the hostilities in eastern Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said this while commenting on an article in Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper which was published over the weekend. The publication reported that mercenaries from ex-Soviet Baltic states, as well as Sweden, Finland and France fought in the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary group supporting the Kiev government troops and financed by Ukrainian oligarch and governor Ihor Kolomoiskyi.
“If the information in this article is true, than it is yet another confirmation of involvement of foreign fighters in the armed internal conflict in Ukraine,” the statement reads.
Last month, Russia issued arrest warrants for Kolomoyskyi, as well as Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, on charges of organizing murders and abductions, using banned means and methods of warfare, and preventing legal journalistic activities.
Moscow also believes the Azov Battalion played a key role in the violent attack on the Russian embassy in Kiev in mid-June, causing tensions between Moscow and Kiev to boil over.