News / Europe

    Ukraine Volunteer Militia Deploys to East During Cease-fire

    Ukraine Volunteer Militia Deploys to East During Cease-firei
    X
    Anita Powell
    June 23, 2014 8:04 PM
    Volunteers with Ukraine's Donbas Battalion, a pro-government militia that recently merged with the National Guard, prepared to deploy to the restive east on Monday, during a temporary cease-fire declared days earlier by the nation’s new president. VOA's Anita Powell talked to the group about what they plan to do while they are not allowed to launch operations against pro-Russian fighters.
    Ukraine Volunteer Militia Deploys to East During Cease-fire
    Anita Powell
    More volunteers with Ukraine's Donbas Battalion, a pro-government militia that recently merged with the National Guard, were preparing to deploy to the restive east Monday - in the middle of a temporary cease-fire declared just days earlier by the country’s new president. The deployment comes at a time when they are technically not allowed to launch operations against pro-Russian separatist fighters.
     
    The Donbas Battalion is no ordinary army. That much is clear from their mismatched uniforms and shoes and uneven marching formation.
     
    But what they might lack in discipline, fitness, unit cohesion and basic training, they more than make up for in enthusiasm - and love for their country, Ukraine.
     
    An assembly of about 360 of the unit’s members shouted “Glory to Ukraine” and “Death to enemies,” as they prepared to deploy Monday to an undisclosed location in eastern Ukraine, where regular Ukrainian troops have been fighting separatists. The unit is named after the eastern industrial heartland of Ukraine, commonly called Donbas, and many of its members hail from the area.
     
    There, surrounded by battle-hardened guerrillas allegedly backed by Russia’s formidable army, they will be operating under an order that tests the mettle of even the most elite troops: to cease fire.
     
    Poroshenko’s cease-fire

    The Donbas Battalion has trained at a camp north of Kyiv for just three weeks. And their deployment comes just three days after Ukraine’s new president declared a one-week unilateral cease-fire to allow militants to disarm and leave the country. The terms of President Petro Poroshenko’s cease-fire allow Ukrainian troops to return fire only if they are attacked.
     
    Neither side has observed the cease-fire - rebels rejected it outright and fighting continued uninterrupted over the weekend. It’s unclear how that will affect Poroshenko’s plan to bring peace to the east.
     
    The battalion's commander, Semyon Semenchenko, said he thinks his fighters need to deploy even amid a supposed cease-fire.
     
    Concerning the president’s moratorium, Semenchenko said that he thinks his men will abide by it. “But they will attack us; and we will respond,” he added. “Moreover,” he said, “this is our home. We live in Donbas, that’s why we’re going there.” 
     
    Recruits are eager

    Semenchenko formed his unit in late May, after pro-Russian fighters began violently advancing in Ukraine’s east. The Donbas Battalion, which is integrated into Ukraine’s National Guard, is largely funded with private donations and relies on volunteers. Some fighters are even forgoing the $340 monthly salary they are being offered.
     
    A spokeswoman for the group said about half the corps’ men have prior military experience. She said the ranks now number about 600, with some 3,000 volunteers waiting to sign up.
     
    The recruits are eager, and many seem to be spoiling for a fight.
     
    One militia member, who gave his name only as Viktor and said he did not have a rank, was quick to answer when asked what he’d do if separatists shot at him.
     
    “This issue was addressed in the peace plan,” he said. “Of course, I’ll fire back.”

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Frank Korvi from: Maryland
    June 23, 2014 10:39 PM
    Propaganda can be measured by what it says and what it doesn't say. VOA knows but hides that members of this militia are right wing nazi thugs of Right Sektor paid by the governor of Dnipropetrovsk, Igor Kolomoyskyi, a corrupt billionaire and former Ukranian Comunist Party member who made a fortune with former state.owned industrial plants.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 23, 2014 7:07 PM
    THE WISE MAN said it; -- they came with great enthusiasm and purpose, and if they survive the winter, they'll wish their leaders had sat down together and drank tea and talked, and they'll wish they'd stayed home, safe and warm, because all they'll see now, is all around death, and they'll wonder, if they're next..... meanbill

    by: Not Again from: Canada
    June 23, 2014 6:41 PM
    Para-military militias, not under the full and total control of the gvmt, are always a bad idea; their lack of discipline and formal military training, including their lack of understanding or even due care for the Geneva conventions and related protocols, potentially will result in warcrimes; it will exacerbate the polarization of the adversary communities; will increase the carnage in the conflict; their crimes/errors will be greatly magnified; and in most cases will turn the people against the state.
    In other conflicts, in which part arms lenght militias participated in civil wars, their impact on battles/war effort was marginally positive, but their overall output was significantly negative. All fighting forces of a nation, should be part and parcel of the regular gvmt run/controlled security forces. Private militias are a very bad idea, and Ukraine should refrain from having such militias; it would be best to incorporate fully, provide at least basic training, militias into regular formations.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.