Donetsk, Apr 26 - DAN. The Donetsk People’s Republic Prosecutor General’s Office instituted criminal proceedings against Andrey Biletsky, one of the leaders of Ukrainian neo-Nazis who founded the “Azov” group (banned in the DPR), the PGO press service reported on Tuesday.

“Prosecutors found out that on April 22, 2022, Andrey Biletsky, in an interview with Ukraine’s NTA television channel, called for extremist actions, i.e. particularly serious crimes such as ethnically-motivated hate murders,” the press service said.

In the interview, Biletsky commented on the plan of the liberated Mariupol’s authorities to organize an Immortal Regiment march in the city on May 9. The neo-Nazi leader threatened a missile strike at the participants of the march saying that Ukrainian armed formations were capable of “delivering an adequate and powerful answer” using Tochka-U tactical missiles.

The PGO said that Biletsky’s actions are covered by DPR Criminal Code Article 325, Part 2 (public calls for extremism made with the use of mass media). The article carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Mariupol is the largest city on the Sea of Azov coast, a key Donbass metallurgy centre and seaport. Clashes for Mariupol began on February 25; the city was fully blocked in the course of the fighting and then cleared of the invaders. At present, the surviving gunmen are blocked in the Azovstal plant industrial zone.

Andrey Biletsky is the founder and a commander of the “Azov” armed group, head of the National Corps neo-Nazi Party. He took part in the punitive operation against Donbass and repeatedly issued barbaric orders to deliver strikes at peaceful towns in the region. In 2019, he suggested using the Israeli experience on the DPR and LPR: give up the measures on a peaceful settlement of the conflict, return Ukrainian troops to positions, shut down the checkpoints and stop water and electricity supply to the Donbass Republics.*jk