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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora