RIGA - National Bolshevik activist Beness Aijo, who several years ago fled Latvia to join Kremlin-backed separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine, has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to grant him political asylum and said he has been released after a brief detention in Russia.
In his statement to the press, written in Russian, Aijo says that Russian authorities have released him from custody. The activist attributes his release to support from the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk, which is a separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine, and all post-Soviet countries.
Aijo says he arrived in Russia on February 6 to tell Russian nongovernmental organizations and members of the Russian Duma about problems in the People's Republic of Luhansk, another separatist territory in eastern Ukraine.
The National Bolshevik, who is wanted by Latvian law enforcement authorities, admits he was extremely upset about his detention in Russia. He told Russian police that he had not violated Russian or Latvian laws but only defended the people of Donbas against Ukraine's right-wing extremists, or "Banderites".
In his statement, Aijo lambasts Latvia and its political system, claiming that Latvia provides weapons and fighters to Ukraine. He also calls Latvia "an absolute Russophobe evil".
Quoting Latvia's Russian school advocate Aleksadrs Gilmans' who once said that "Latvia does not deserve to exist", Aijo says that Russia should "spit on the requests made by the fascist and Russophobe country".
According to Aijo, he spent two days in detention and was released on Thursday.
His lawyer helped him write the asylum request, addressed to Putin.
"I am confident that as an anti-fascist state, Russia will not extradite me to Latvia. I am calling on Russian authorities to never extradite Donbas fighters and political refugees to other countries," Aijo says in his statement.
As reported, Una Brenca, chief prosecutor at the international cooperation department of the Latvian Prosecutor General’s Office, told LETA this week that Latvia will seek Aijo’s extradition and has sent a temporary detention request.
Representatives of the State Security Service confirmed to LETA that the service has been informed about Aijo’s detention in Russia.
In July 2019, the State Security Service asked the prosecution office of the Riga judicial district to prosecute Aijo for illegal participation in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Russia' s Regnum news agency reported earlier this week that Aijo has been detained in Russia's Arkhangelsk region.
Latvian citizen Aijo had been on international search for joining the terrorists in Eastern Ukraine. He was detained in the village of Yarensk where he had arrived to support environmental activists protesting against development of a landfill.
Citing Communist Party representative Dmitry Sarayev, Regnum noted that Aija had been a member of neo-fascist National Bolshevik party that now is a part of the Communist Party of the Donetsk Republic, known under a nickname of Black Lenin.
Sarayev claims that the Russian authorities have detained Aija based on Ukraine's request and he might face extradition to Ukraine.