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

    Pentagon: Afghan Hospital Bombing Not a War Crime

    US Central Command's Joseph Votel says probe found tragedy was result of 'extraordinarily intense situation' that included multiple equipment failures

    US Minorities Link Guns with Other Social Ills

    New study finds reduction in gun violence could help lower America’s incarceration rate – the world’s highest - and improve relationships between police, citizens in minority communities

    US Millennials Beat Baby Boomers as Largest Living Generation

    America's young people are about to take over and here's what we can expect from them

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora