14:56 24.07.2015

Ukrainian interior minister suspends Mukacheve police chief

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has suspended the police chief in Mukacheve, which recently saw a shootout between police and members of the Right Sector organization.

"By my decree, I have forwarded a comprehensive inspection to Zakarpattia police department in order to check it thoroughly in all areas. I have suspended the Mukacheve police chief for the period of the inspection. Based on the results of the inspection of his work, we will decide whether he will continue working or not," Avakov wrote on his Facebook account.

It was reported earlier that Mukacheve had seen an exchange of fire on July 11, which involved people close to parliamentarian Mykhailo Lanyo, local policemen, and Right Sector members. Various reports suggested that up to five people were killed and some 14 others injured in the skirmish.

The Interior Ministry reported that about ten Right Sector fighters had hid earlier in a forested area around Mukacheve, and two were hospitalized. The Security Service (SBU) reported on July 16 that six other armed members of Right Sector were to be hunted in the Mukacheve district.

According to the Right Sector's account, the exchange of fire had been provoked by criminal elements led by Lanio, whose smuggling channel they had blocked.

At the same time, a number of media outlets reported that the conflict had been prompted by the desire to reshape the spheres of influence in patronizing contraband flows in the region, particularly those of cigarettes. One theory suggests that the Right Sector challenged a gang informally patronized by Lanio. According to another, the Right Sector acted with the same intentions but in parliamentarian Viktor Baloha's interests.

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