Russia has sent a request to the international police agency Interpol for the arrest and extradition of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, claiming he killed Russian soldiers in Chechnya in the 1990s.

Yatsenyuk was one of the prime figures of the massive protests that drove Ukraine's Russia-friendly president out of the country in 2014. He became prime minister and was in office until last April.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry reported Friday that it had received a copy of the Russian request from Interpol. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Yatsenyuk had never been to Chechnya and that "Yatsenyuk's persecution by Russia is politically motivated."

The former head of Russia's Investigative Committee claimed in 2015 that Yatsenyuk had fought alongside separatist rebels in 1994 and 1995, during the first Chechen war.