Leader of US-backed Ukrainian fascist Right Sector militia killed in police shootout

Oleksandr Muzychko, a leader of the Right Sector fascist paramilitary group that led street fighting against riot police during last month's Western-backed putsch in Kiev, was shot and killed in the western Ukrainian city of Rivne late Monday.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry confirmed that he was killed in a police operation, underscoring continuing tensions inside the far-right Western-backed regime in Kiev.

There were conflicting accounts of the killing. According to Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Yevdokimov, Muzychko opened fire on a police squad that was sent to arrest him and several of his confederates at a café in Rivne. He opened fire, wounding one of the policemen, who returned fire, fatally wounding Muzychko. Three of his armed bodyguards were captured. Yevdokimov called Muzychko the leader of a “criminal gang.”

Ukrainian opposition legislator Oleksandr Doniy claimed, however, that Muzychko died in a gangland-style killing by assailants who stopped his car, tied his hands behind his back, and shot him.

Doniy is affiliated to the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), a Washington, DC-based outfit whose Facebook page reposts material from Right Sector. The UCCA’s mission statement specifies that it will “cooperate with the United States government in creating an equitable world order.”

Former senior Ukrainian intelligence officials speaking to Russian news agency RIA Novosti said that the killing of Muzychko was an operation carried out under the direct orders of Ukrainian intelligence chief Valentin Nalivaichenko. “The goal of the operation was not to capture, but to neutralize Muzychko, to take him off stage,” they said.

Right Sector members in Rivne threatened to respond to Muzychko’s death by killing officials in the Kiev regime, calling the official account of Muzychko’s killing an “outright lie.”

"We will avenge ourselves on [Interior Minister] Arsen Avakov for the death of our brother. The shooting of Sashko Bily [Muzychko’s nom de guerre] is a contract killing ordered by the minister," said Roman Koval, a Right Sector fighter in Rivne.

The most influential leader of Right Sector after Right Sector presidential candidate Dmytro Yarosh, Muzychko personified the fascist character of the forces embraced by Washington and the European Union (EU) in their drive for regime change in Kiev. In 2007, he pledged to fight “communists, Jews, and Russians for as long as blood flows in my veins.”

After the putsch, he was filmed slapping Ukrainian prosecutors and threatening Ukrainian legislators with an assault rifle. He also repeatedly threatened officials in Rivne. He was put on the Ukrainian police’s wanted list after these incidents, on March 12.

At the time of his death, Muzychko was also under investigation for involvement in Ukrainian organized crime. He also faced an international arrest warrant, for torturing Russian prisoners while fighting on the side of Islamist Chechen separatists against Russia in 1994-95.