MOSCOW: A Russian court issued an arrest warrant for Ukrainian far-right leader Dmytro Yarosh in absentia on Wednesday on charges of inciting terrorism, a symbolic move in support of Moscow's argument that "extremists" stole power in neighbouring Ukraine.
Russian news agencies said Moscow's Basmanny District Court ruled that Yarosh, one of the most influential leaders of the protest movement which ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich, should be arrested for making "public calls for terrorist and extremist activities via the media".
Ukraine's new justice authorities have issued warrants for the arrest of pro-Russia leaders in Ukraine's southern Crimea region before a weekend referendum they have called to join the region to Russia.
Russia has singled out Yarosh, who heads the Right Sector paramilitary movement and has said he will run for president of Ukraine, as an example of what it calls the extremists who led an anti-constitutional "coup" in Ukraine.
Ukraine's government and Western leaders accuse Russian officials and media of distorting the facts to provide President Vladimir Putin with a justification for invading Ukraine to protect Russians there.