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Finnish court orders Russian neo-Nazi fighter to remain in custody

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 11, 2023 11:32 PM 2 min read
Members of the neo-Nazi paramilitary unit Rusich walk by the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow, Russia. (STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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A Finnish court ruled on Dec. 11 that Yan Petrovsky, a Russian neo-Nazi mercenary who has fought against Ukrainian troops, must remain in custody despite the rejection of his extradition to Ukraine, the Finnish media outlet YLE reported.  

The decision came just three days after the Finnish Supreme Court ruled that Petrovsky cannot be extradited to Ukraine to stand trial because conditions in Ukrainian prisons do not meet standards set by the European Convention on Human Rights. The court released him but he was immediately re-arrested by the Finnish Border Guard.

The Finnish newspaper Helsingen Sanomat said on Dec. 8 that Petrovsky had left the prison in the custody of the Border Guard, but it was unclear where he would go, as his Finnish residence permit was revoked and he was ordered to be deported. He has also been banned from entering the entire Schengen zone.

The Finnish police announced on Dec. 9 that they had begun a preliminary investigation into Petrovsky for atrocities he is accused of committing in Ukraine. A decision on whether to formally charge Petrovksy with terrorism or other crimes is expected within the next few days, YLE said on Dec. 9.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has accused Petrovsky of collaborating with Russian proxies in Luhansk Oblast to aid the Russian invasion of Ukraine starting in 2014.

Petrovsky is a co-leader of Rusich, a Russian neo-Nazi paramilitary unit that has fought against Ukraine.

The Rusich unit prides itself on atrocities, publishing photos and videos of the torture and murder of Ukrainian citizens.

Another co-leader of the Rusich unit, Alexei Milchakov, has posed with a swastika flag and called for “killing homeless people, puppies and children.”

In 2011 Milchakov published photographs in which he killed a puppy, cut off its head and ate its meat.

In 2022 he also published a “manual” for torturing and killing Ukrainian prisoners of war.

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