The conflict apparently arose when the Right Sector fought with local criminals who compete with them in cigarette trafficking. Mukacheve is a key smuggling hub into Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. The Right Sector claims it was attacked by "bandits" associated with a local lawmaker whom they accused of being a "drug trafficker". They also accused the local police of being paid by a pro-Russian politician. The Right Sector who describe themselves as nationalists won two seats in the Ukrainian parliament last October. Some opponents of the Right Sector accuse them of being fascists.
Critics claim that the Ukraine has been so pre-occupied with its battle with eastern separatists that it has failed to reform its legal system and stem the spread of corruption. The Right Sector portrayed its battle in Mukacheve as intended to root out corruption. According to their version of events, members of the group had been lured to a local Sports Club by a local politician whom they had accused of being a smuggler. When they arrived, they were attacked by local police with two of their members being killed.
Many supporters of the Right Sector protested in Kiev and elsewhere demanding the the Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, be fired. According to Avakov three police officers and four civilians had been wounded in grenade attacks. An Interior Ministry Statement claimed the Right Sector opened fire first killing one civilian. President Poroshenko has ordered police to disarm the group and arrest those involved in the shooting.
Analysts said the moves were a direct challenge to Poroshenko and his government, and could threaten to open up a new front in Kiev's battle to bring order to Ukraine. Volodymyr Fesenko, an analyst from Kiev said:"What happened in Mukacheve - this is a serious signal to the state. They must speed up moves to establish order - there must be no illegal armed groups. What happened in Mukacheve is a settling of scores between criminals. It is a conflict between clans, one of which call themselves patriots ... This is a challenge to stability."
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.