One of Latvia's most wanted men has been appointed the new deputy prime minister of the unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic.
A former major of the Soviet OMON police unit in Riga and former chief of security in the unrecognized territory of Transnistria in Moldova, Vladimir Antyufeev and is also wanted by authorities in Moldova.
In a press conference in Donetsk, Antyufeev stated that ''he has fought against fascism'' all his life.
Describing his active participation in attempting to suppress Latvia's independence efforts in the early 1990's, Antyufeev described his actions as ''an active fight against the resurrection of neo-fascism in Latvia''.
On January 20, 1991, OMON troops, loyal to the Soviet regime, attacked Latvia's Interior Ministry, killing six people during the January 1991 events in a failed pro-Moscow coup attempt following the Latvian SSR's declaration of independence.
Seven OMON officers, including Antyufeev, were subsequently found guilty by the Riga District Court and were given sentences in absentia.
Antyufeev subsequently fled Latvia to Russia after the country regained independence and has since been wanted by Latvian authorities for his crimes.
As a major of the Riga OMON forces, Antyufeev and his troops carried out various attacks against pro-independence supporters during the January 1991 events in Latvia.