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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid