The crisis in Mukacheve as it happened

Police car burning in Mukacheve

Police car burning in Mukacheve 

2015/07/12 • News

On 11 July 2015 a shootout took place in the western Ukrainian city of Mukacheve, Zakarpattya Oblast, involving fighters of the Right Sector military-political movement and security forces of local businessman and MP Mykhailo Lanyo. 11 people were wounded in the conflict. As of July 12, five remain in hospital, according to Channel 5, including one in intensive care. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General has opened an investigation into a “terrorist act”. Meanwhile, the Right Sector refuses to lay down arms and has announced country-wide rallies in support of the “Mukacheve Robin Hoods”.

This timeline attempts to track the shootout in the town of Mukacheve in Sub-Carpathian Western Ukraine involving Right Sector nationalist volunteer fighters and the following events as they happened. It is based on information from local and national Ukrainian media and social networks.

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July 11

Right Sector’s “Volunteer Ukraine Corps” fighters arrived at  the Antares sports facility in central Mukacheve. The facility belongs to Ukrainian parliament member Mikhaylo Lanyo, said to be involved in smuggling and organized crime.

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Antares sports facility, central Mukacheve

Mikhaylo Lanyo claims Right Sector members came to him to organize convalescence at his resort facility for fellow fighters recovering from fighting in Eastern Ukraine. Right Sector members claim Lanyo was upset with their anti-smuggling activities and summoned them to deliver threats and demands to stop them. Some locals claimed Right Sector was involved in the smuggling operations and came to Lanyo to settle a “business” conflict.

Armed Right Sector fighters near "Antares".

Armed Right Sector fighters near “Antares”.

Right Sector members claimed they carried only hunting weapons, while photos and videos suggest this was not the case. Mikhaylo Lanyo’s armed thugs allegedly present at the base aren’t visible in any videos or photos.

Whatever the topic of the negotiations was, they apparently broke down. Lanyo and police authorities claimed the Right Sector started the shootout, while the volunteer fighters alleged they were attacked by Lanyo’s men and police operatives paid by the parliament member.

In a police video posted by journalist/parliament member Mustafa Nayem, Right Sector fighters can be seen carrying a person who earlier stood at the gates of Antares.

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Later an ambulance came to take the man to hospital. The media reported him as the sports club’s guard, while Mikhail Lanyo alleged he never knew the man. The man is currently in hospital, having slipped into a coma.

According to Nayem’s explanation of the video, a local police head arrived and attempted to negotiate with Right Sector fighters. Later in the video, gunfire can be heard and Right Sector fighters are seen firing warning shots into the air. Right Sector claimed they were attacked by police special forces, which can’t be seen in the police video. Right Sector fighters used a smoke grenade and left the scene.

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Apparently chased by police, Right Sector figthers exited the town and probably attempted to reach their base in Uzhhorod, when they came across a police cordon.

In a dashcam video, reposted by a pro-Russian YouTube channel, we can see a Right Sector convoy driving and encountering the police cordon.

Right Sector claimed they received demands to surrender, which is corroborated by them talking on a phone in the police video. A shootout ensued, in which 3 police cars were destroyed and several policemen and civilians were wounded, while two Right Sector fighters were killed.

Police car burning in Mukacheve

Police car burning outside Mukacheve

According to law enforcement authorities, Right Sector fighters broke through the cordon and fled into the surrounding woods towards Lavki village.

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As Right Sector fighters fled the scene, they left their cars and a dead comrade. In the back of their pickup truck, RPGs were recovered.

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A rally took place at president Poroshenko’s administration in Kyiv in support of Right Sector fighters and demanding to dismiss Interior Minister Avakov, as well as arrest Mukacheve policemen and the MP Lanyo who is allegedly connected to pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk.

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Kyiv rally supporting the “Transcarpathian Robin Hoods”

July 12

Ukrainian vehicle convoy was spotted driving towards Mukacheve

In the town itself, heavy police presence and tightened security was observed, while people went on with their weekend activities, discussing the events over coffee.

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A Reuters video captured two unidentified armed men in civilian clothes guarding the streets next to uniformed policemen. It is unknown whether they are Mykhailo Lanyo’s armed gangsters or plainclothes policemen.

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Right Sector has been using radical rhetoric, urgint Ukrainian troops not to open fire on RS volunteers (the order hasn’t yet been given). Numerous rallies took place across Ukraine in support of the “Transcarpathian Robin Hoods”.

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Pro-Right Sector rally in Kharkiv

The rallies have been peaceful so far, although Right Sector did block a street in Ivano-Frankivsk.

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A Right Sector volunteer battalion reportedly left the frontline in Eastern Ukraine to join the protest in Kyiv, declared to continue indefinitely.

Meanwhile in Mukacheve, two of the Right Sector fighters blocked by law enforcement finally surrendered, according to MIA official Anton Herashenko. Right Sector claims those two were seriously wounded and surrendered so that their lives could be saved.

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Right Sector fighters in the woods north of Mukacheve

 

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  • puttypants

    It sounds to me like the Kiev government is not in support of the right sector and are trying to keep them down. I’m worried the Kiev government isn’t sincere about a free Ukraine from Putin’s hold and to get back Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

  • Nowhere Girl

    A little technical notice. I have a problem with those images changing – they aren’t the same height and so the page is moving up and down. Please allow pausing image slideshows even when they consist of just two photos…

  • Being

    I am on side of Right Sector, why nobody chases those weird ProKremlin armed politicians and thier dogs who smuggle?? It seems all chases just Right Sector members. And STOP RUS-propaganda on Czech TVs-SHAME!!

  • Evelyn Myketa Livingston

    RS may consider themselves true patriots but they are not above the law.. I think that many in ukraine view this group as beloved folk heroes but they appear to behave like armed thugs and they are doing ukraine a disservice.

  • evanlarkspur

    For Right Sector to be right (their name is a play on “right” or “correct” in Ukrainian), they need to submit themselves to the rule of law. Otherwise, they stand between Ukraine and the support of law abiding, democratic peoe everywhere. And Ukraine desperately needs our goodwill and support.

    • canuke

      I fully understand the need for the rule of law. However, this is exactly what Yanukovych and his thugs claimed. The rule of law works if their is no corruption, or paid off police. This MP, M. Lanyo sounds like a very seedy character. If, indeed, he’s run roughshod over the law, running his own fiefdom in Zakarpattya, then what the RS group did is correct. The rotten apples need to be removed lest they contaminate the rest of the country attempting to rid itself from the rot of the various oligarchs that cared not one iota for the country, but only for their own pocketbooks.

      • evanlarkspur

        I agree that he needs to be taken down if he is corrupt, but I deeply disagree that non-state actors can be allowed to do it, much less that this is “right.” Law-enforcement and use of force except in self-defense must be reserved for State actors to have a democracy ruled by law. Absolutely, there are times when the people need to rise up and seize the reins of power for their own freedom and dignity. But it is very late in the turnover of power to the people in Ukraine for armed bands to still be running around engaging in extra-judicial killing. And let’s not overlook the fact that these “freedom fighters” and upholders of law just took a six year old boy hostage to protect themselves. They are far beyond the law now, and far beyond the bounds of decency. This is not freedom fighting, but banditry, and it will cost Ukraine dearly with the West if she does not put them down hard.