13:03 23.07.2015

MP Baloha denies involvement in Mukacheve events, says they were orchestrated by Kyiv

3 min read
MP Baloha denies involvement in Mukacheve events, says they were orchestrated by Kyiv

Ukrainian independent MP Viktor Baloha has denied having anything to do with the events in Mukacheve and has accused the Ukrainian government of orchestrated the situation.

"I refute all the speculation about my interest in this matter," Baloha said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Thursday.

According to him, the incident in Mukacheve "is of a much larger scale" than people have been led to believe.

"Right Sector was used as a tool in the planned operation... The plan was orchestrated by Kyiv," Baloha said.

"This is not only a clash between criminal business, but there is also a close interconnection among power, political, and criminal interests," Baloha said, adding that in his opinion, the conflict involves mafia bosses and their patrons in the government and law enforcement agencies.

Baloha said: "[The plan is] to use the Right Sector to destroy those involved in smuggling in Zakarpattia, to free this market for themselves, to use law enforcement officers to destroy Right Sector to discredit all the volunteer movements before the public and in the end to introduce an ATO (anti-terrorist operation) in Zakarpattia having destroyed any political competition."

"It is likely that this plan was orchestrates by law-enforcement authorities of Kyiv and not of Zakarpattia region... A representative of at least one political force, [member of the People's Front party, Ukrainian Interior Ministry Arsen] Avakov, was involved in this event, because he could stop it and this special operation would not be held without him," he said.

He also said that condemns the actions of the Right Sector and believes that the investigation and the trial should look objectively into the incident.

Baloha did not deny that he was involved in funding Right Sector.

"Since the revolution in 2013 in Kyiv, I have financed the Maidan, I financed Zakarpattia residents, including representatives of Right Sector. And now I can definitely tell you that I helped Right Sector both in Kyiv, and in Zakarpattia. But this is trifle in comparison to what we do and how we help the 128th brigade, which is stationed in Mukacheve," he said.

When asked if the Mukacheve events are an attempt to reduce his influence in Mukacheve, Baloha said: "Everything is much more complicated. My family has legal business, trade, catering, brick production, agriculture. Do you think that I was interested in smuggling? I have never been interested in it... If anyone wants to accuse me of something, I am ready to lay down my MP's mandate, immunity, and be part of an open trial with the involvement of journalists, lie detector tests, to put an end to it once and for all."

When asked about his reluctance to cooperate with the temporary investigative commission of the Verkhovna Rada which is investigating the events in Mukacheve, Baloha said: "I strongly believe that many of my colleagues who work in this commission cover the events subjectively."

The MP also said that he was interrogated by investigators and gave extensive answers to their questions.

"I am working with the Prosecutor General's Office, I was interrogated, and I answered all the questions that a representative of the Prosecutor General's Office asked. I said: 'I'm at their disposal 24 hours a day, if they need to ask me anything to help the investigation," Baloha said.