KIEV, July 23 (RAPSI) – Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has initiated criminal proceedings against Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the 39-year-old founder of equity investment group Marshall Capital, Konstantin Malofeyev.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov writes on Facebook that Shoigu and Malofeyev are being investigated for the alleged creation of illegal paramilitary or armed groups. This crime is punishable in Ukraine by up to 15 years in prison.

According to Avakov, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry suspects that Shoigu, acting with support from the Russian Defense Ministry, “created the illegal armed groups that are operating in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine.” Malofeyev is allegedly financing these illegal armed groups.

Avakov said he would take measures to ensure that Shoigu and Malofeyev are taken to the police if they refuse to heed the summons.

In June of this year, Russia’s Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Dnepropetrovsk Governor Igor Kolomoisky and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov for collusion with high-ranking officials in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry in the masterminding of military operations aimed at the murder of civilians.