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Donbas Battalion
"Ukrainian: Батальйон «Донбас»
""Emblem of the Donbas Battalion.svg
Donbas Battalion emblem
Active 2014–present
Country  "Ukraine
Branch ""Emblem of the National Guard of Ukraine.svg "National Guard of Ukraine
Size 900[1]
Garrison/HQ "Severodonetsk
Engagements "War in Donbas
• "Battle of Ilovaisk
• "Battle of Debaltseve
Commanders
Current
commander
"Semen Semenchenko[2]
Insignia
Battalion flag ""Flag of the Donbas Battalion.svg

The Donbas Battalion is a volunteered "National Guard of Ukraine unit subordinate to the "Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, based in "Severodonetsk. The formation was established in the Spring of 2014 during the "2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine.[2][3][4] The battalion was created by "Semen Semenchenko, an "ethnic Russian native of Donetsk, who is a major in the "National Guard of Ukraine. The unit was initially formed as independent, but has been fully integrated into the National Guard of Ukraine as the 2nd Special Purpose Battalion "Donbas".[5][6]

History[edit]

Semenchenko, a former Ukrainian reserve captain, states that he and the other members of the Donbas Battalion gained combat experience in the "Ukrainian Ground Forces or "Soviet Army.[6] According to him the all-volunteer Battalion was initially funded wholly by their own members savings and donations from individuals and "receiving zero salary from either the state or "oligarchs".[6] The first trainers of the battalion were instructors with experience in the "Georgian Armed Forces.[7] The "Ukrainian Interior Ministry adopted Donbas Battalion as a National Guard of Ukraine unit thus allowing them to operate legally.[6]

""
""
Donbas Battalion training group near "Kiev (2014)

The Battalion recruits members from different regions of Ukraine, through various media including the Internet, a newspaper and phone line. New recruits are briefly trained in "Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, and may see combat days after joining.

According to Semenchenko, some of his men have entered Donetsk city. Donbass Battalion and the other territorial battalion fight on the ground with an artillery and logistic support from the Ukrainian army.[8]

On 19 August, Semenchenko was wounded when his forces were hit by mortar fire before entering the town of Ilovaysk, 18 kilometers east of Donetsk.[9]

Semenchenko and battalion member "Pavlo Kyshkar were elected in the "Ukrainian parliament on the party list of "Samopomich in the "2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election.[10][11] Yevgen Shevchenko, also from the battalion, was standing in the election too but did not win a seat.[12][11]

On 24 December 2014, Amnesty International reported that the unit is blocking humanitarian aid sent from Ukraine by the foundation of Ukrainian billionaire "Rinat Akhmetov[13] reaching the population of the separatist-controlled areas; over half the population in these areas depend on food aid. The reason the aid is being blocked by the Donbass, "Aidar and "Dnipro battalions is that the battalions believe humanitarian aid is being used in occupied territories for commercial purposes and ending up in the wrong hands.[13][14] Russian born Denis Krivosheev, who currently acting Director of Europe and Central Asia for Amnesty International, stated that "Using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is a war crime".[15] Explaining his actions Semenchenko said by phone that he was not against humanitarian aid but added that humanitarian convoys should be under government or U.N. control.[13] Later on 26 December 2014 Semenchenko stated: "the Donbas battalion stays in Luhansk region and it will continue blocking “humanitarian trucks” with alcohol and cigarettes, coal and fuel, which are delivered to and from the territory controlled by the so-called “LPR.”"[16]

According to Interior Minister "Arsen Avakov by mid-April 2016 108 members of the battalion had been killed in action.[17]

There are plans to convert this battalion to a combined arms mechanized infantry regiment of the National Guard, with tanks and armored personnel vehicles. Part of it is the raising of a "Spetsnaz unit in the battalion as the special forces element.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Volunteers Bolster Ukraine's Fighting Force". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Батальон "Донбасс" станет частью Нацгвардии - Семенченко". ЛIГА.Новости. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Ukrainian Donbas Battalion ambushed in Donetsk Oblast village; at least five killed". KyivPost. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Volunteer Donbass Battalion takes up arms to defend Ukraine, defeat separatists". KyivPost. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Нацгвардия сообщает о формировании 3-го резервного батальона на базе "Донбасса"". 112.ua. 
  6. ^ a b c d Ukraine civil war fears mount as volunteer units take up arms, "The Guardian (15 May 2014)
  7. ^ (in Ukrainian) "We are trying to come to power through elections, but we have all sorts of possibilities" - as "Azov" becomes party, "Hromadske.TV (13 October 2016)
  8. ^ "Bombardements dans le centre-ville de Donetsk". Le Monde.fr. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "Latest local news from San Luis Obispo, CA - The Tribune". Archived from the original on 20 August 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Ukraine Votes On Oct. 26 To Elect New Parliament, "Kyiv Post (Oct. 24, 2014)
  11. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) Full list of newly elected People's Deputies, "Televiziyna Sluzhba Novyn (12 November 2014)
  12. ^ Steve Rosenberg (24 October 2014). "Ukraine election: Land of chaos and courage". BBC. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c "Warning of humanitarian catastrophe comes as trucks with humanitarian aid turned back on way to Donbas". 18 December 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Amnesty International, Eastern Ukraine: Humanitarian disaster looms as food aid blocked, 24 December 2014.
  15. ^ "Amnesty International - Eastern Ukraine: Humanitarian disaster looms as food aid blocked". 24 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Semenchenko: Donbas battalion will continue blocking Akmetov's humanitarian convoy". 26 December 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  17. ^ Avakov speaks of losses of National Guard, "UNIAN (18 April 2016)

External links[edit]

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