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Ukrainian volunteer battalions are military, police and paramilitary formations that were formed from volunteers in a response to "Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Most of the formations were formed by government agencies: "Ministry of Defence and "Ministry of Internal Affairs, the minority are independent.
As of September 2014, 37 volunteer battalions took active part in battles of the "War in Donbass.
In January 2017 "Ukraine's Defense Minister "Stepan Poltorak stated that 40 thousand volunteers were fighting for Ukraine.
Government controlled volunteer formations
Ministry of Defence
Since spring 2014, "Ministry of Defence had formed 32 "territorial defence battalions. At the end of 2014, territorial defence battalions were reorganized as motorized infantry battalions.
Besides territorial defence battalions, several regular units of "Armed Forces of Ukraine were formed from volunteers, such as 3rd Airmobile Battalion "Phoenix" or 54th Reconnaissance Battalion "UNSO". In 2015 the 46th Spetsnaz Battalion "Donbas Ukraine" was created from volunteers of "Donbas Battalion who decided to switch from "National Guard of Ukraine to Armed Forces.
Ministry of Internal Affairs
"Ministry of Internal Affairs had established 56 "special tasks patrol police units sized from "company to battalion. After several reorganizations, this number shrunk to 33 units.
The "National Guard of Ukraine, subordinated to Ministry of Internal Affairs, had established several reserve battalions, among which were "Donbas Battalion and General Kulchytskiy Battalion formed from volunteers and "Maidan activists. The "Azov Battalion, initially formed as a special task patrol police unit, in October 2014 was moved under National Guard command.
According to Interior Minister Avakov, by mid-April 2016 205 service personnel of the ministry's volunteer battalions had been killed in action, National Guardsmen included.
As of August 2016, up to 5,000 fighters were in ranks of independent volunteer units, that still weren't integrated into government structures.
Ukrainian Volunteer Corps
Ukrainian Volunteer Corps, 2014
"Right Sector had formed several battalions that are known as Ukrainian Volunteer Corps. In spring 2015 there were attempts to integrate Ukrainian Volunteer Corps into the Ukrainian Army or National Guard. But as of August 2016, the process wasn't finished yet and most units were still independent.
Battalion of "Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists" was operating in the area of Pisky, Donetsk.
Foreign fighters mainly from Belarus, Georgia and Russia (about 100 men from each country) have joined the volunteer battalions. They were joined by fighters from the United States, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Georgia, Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Italy and Canada.
Foreign fighters from Belarus and Russia have asked for "Ukrainian citizenship fearing persecution at home. The "Ukrainian parliament passed laws to simplify this for them. Nevertheless, foreign fighters from Belarus and Russia have complained that gaining this citizenship took too long.
According to "New York Times, there are three volunteer Islamic battalions fighting for the Ukrainian side.
Dzhokhar Dudayev battalion
"Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion, originally named "Chechen battalion", it was set up in March 2014. It was later named after Chechnya’s first president and insurgent leader "Dzhokhar Dudayev and it is based in "Novomoskovsk in "Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. As of late May 2015, the unit is in the process of being legalized as part of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry. Its Ukrainian members will join the Zoloti Borota Battalion, while its foreign members are expected to join army units under a bill enabling foreign fighters to get "Ukrainian citizenship. Most of the members are ethnic "Ukrainians, but there are also Chechens from European countries as well as from Chechnya and it also includes other "Muslims like "Azeris, "Ingush and "Tatars, as well as "Georgians. The battalion "views the war as part of a broader struggle against Russian imperialism and the Kadyrov regime". The battalion specializes in "subversion and countering the subversive groups.
Shah Mansur battalion
Another Chechen battalion, named after "Shah Mansur, has been reported defending the front line near Mariupol in 2015. It was created by former Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion members.
Noman Çelebicihan Battalion
The Noman Çelebicihan Battalion is a battalion of "Crimean Tatars based in "Kherson region bordering "Crimea. The battalion reportedly received assistance from "Turkey.
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Foreign nationals fighting for Ukraine in Donbas demand passports in exchange for their service, "Ukraine Today (19 October 2015)
Why a Russian Is Fighting for Ukraine, "Newsweek (4 August 2015)
They Came to Fight for Ukraine. Now They’re Stuck in No Man’s Land, "Foreign Policy (19 October 2015)
Georgians in Ukraine fight shadow war, "The Moscow Times (19 January 2015)
- ^ Andrew E. Kramer. Islamic Battalions, Stocked With Chechens, Aid Ukraine in War With Rebels. "New York Times. 7 July 2015.
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- ^ "First pictures of the Batallion n.a. Noman Çelebicihan posted". QHA. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
- ^ "Crimean Tatar battalion got help from Turkey". QHA. Retrieved 21 February 2016.