"Patriots for Life", a civic organization supervised by MP Ilya Kiva, which recently came into a spotlight as a result of two conflict episodes with a rivaling group, has reportedly been hiring men who had been part of Viktor Yanukovych's riot police during the Revolution of Dignity in 2014.
Oleh Martynenko, the organization's formal leader, also turned out to be a former Berkut officer, according to photo evidence posted on the OpustiVatu Telegram channel.
Martynenko also manages the Storm private security company owned by aides to Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of the Opposition Platform – For Life Party and crony of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It is he who is allegedly recruiting men into the ranks of Kiva's Patriots - For Life group.
Read also"I'll cut your head off": Odious Ukrainian MP threatens man in Kyiv street (Video)The report also points to Martynenko's Facebook history where he was spotted promoting the ideas of the so-called "Russian world". Having been confronted by journalists, he deleted all such posts from his accounts.
Another former Berkut riot police officer Oleksandr Vizyr has been exposed as part of Kiva's entourage. He joined Medvedchuk's security team after Berkut was disbanded in 2014. It was Vizyr who had organized the Patriots - For Life congress in Poltava, after which the van carrying the organization members was ambushed on August 27, reports claim.
Patriots for Life: background
- On August 27, a skirmish unfolded on the Kyiv-Kharkiv highway with the participation of members of the Patriots - For Life organization. As a result, several men were hospitalized, while 16 attackers were taken into custody for 60 days.
- Patriots - For Life is an organization that positions itself as a militant wing of the Opposition Platform – For Life Party. The organization's members declared as their goals "bringing order back to the streets for the sake of peace" and "fighting radicals."
- MP from the Opposition Platform – For Life Party Ilya Kiva is the organization's actual leader and main speaker.