Videos reportedly showing the capture and torture of Ukrainian mixed-martial arts (MMA) athlete Maxim Ryndovskiy by Ukrainian neo-Nazis have appeared on Telegram.
Ryndovskiy, a three-time world medalist in the wrestling sport Sambo, is seen in the videos with a severe cut to the head while being shouted at by his kidnappers. A photo also appears of Ryndovskiy with severe injuries to his face.
In both the video and picture posted to Telegram the top of Ryndovskiy's head remains covered and he was only identified through his notable tattoos, including a Jewish Star of David symbol on his left knee.
Later a report appeared on the Spanish sports website Marca stating that Ryndovskiy had been shot and executed, however that claim has yet to be verified.
The identity of Ryndovskiy’s kidnappers has still not been reported.
Ryndovskiy apparently became a target for Ukraine's various far-right political forces after visiting the separatist-controlled Lugansk People's Republic and Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine. He had trained at a MMA gym in Chechnya along with Russian athletes prior to the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine.
In addition, he is Jewish and had posted anti-war messages to his Twitch social media channel in recent weeks further angering Ukraine's far-right political forces.
The capture and torture of Ryndovskiy points to an increasingly violent political situation within Ukraine, where the country’s NATO-backed right-wing forces are now using the war with Russia to assassinate and terrorize political enemies and supposed subversives undermining Kiev’s war effort.
On March 6, the Ukrainian media reported that Mikhail and Alexander Kononovich of the government-banned Ukrainian Communist Party had been arrested by Ukraine’s Secrete Service (SBU) for spreading “pro-Russian and pro-Belarusian views.”
Since the beginning of the war, several members of the pro-Russian Opposition Platform for Life Party have been threatened or arrested. The party’s leader, Viktor Medvedchuk, was forced to flee from house arrest after receiving several death threats, according to reports. Medvedchuk, who is a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was charged with treason in May of last year. Several television stations affiliated with him were undemocratically shut down by the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Prior to the beginning of the war on February 24, political opinion polls had reported that the pro-Russian Opposition Platform For Life party was leading or finishing in second place in potential parliamentary elections.
This would have severely undermined the pro-NATO orientation of Kiev and its militaristic stance towards Russia.
Following the US-backed coup against pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s various far-right groups, such as the Right Sector, C14, and the Azov Battalion, regularly committed crimes against political opponents and ethnic minorities, with little response from the Ukrainian government.
Among their list of crimes are attacks on Roma camps, which have included arson, the killing of several journalists and the murder of a three-year old boy in a botched political assassination.
Now, as the kidnapping of Ryndovskiy demonstrates, the far-right, ever-more massively armed by the flood of war materiel coming from the Western powers, has been given license to intensify its violent assaults and work to eliminate opponents of the war.