A Ukrainian lawmaker said Saturday that cell phones seized from commanders of an ultra-nationalist government unit, known as the Tornado battalion, serving in Eastern Ukraine against anti-government rebels, contain graphic images of child sexual abuse.
“When the Tornado commanders were detained, their mobile phones were seized. There was some scary footage on those phones … footage of sex orgies and rape,” Tetiana Chornovol told Ukrainian broadcaster 112.
“There were also rapes of underage girls,” she said, adding that “there were even babies. As I understand the baby's mother was forced to do this under the threat of death of her child.”
Chornovol is a high-ranking member of the right-wing People's Front Party of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The People's Front itself has ties to the Azov Battalion, which is widely accused of sympathizing with fascism and has been further accused of human rights violations.
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Chornovol said the videos formed part of a case against pro-government fighters and commanders from the unit involved, which has since been disbanded.
Prosecutors announced the arrest of eight members from the same unit in mid-June. They are charged with looting, kidnapping and torture of local residents, even allegedly building a torture chamber.
According to the Kyiv Post, the unit was comprised in large part of former convicts.
The volunteer battalion was formed in 2014, and recognized by the interior ministry, and fought in eastern Ukraine in the ongoing conflict against the separatist Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
The Tornado battalion itself was born out of the remains of the fascist Shakhtarsk battalion, which was disbanded after its members were accused of human rights violations and looting.
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