Ukrainian nationalists continue to suffer significant losses in the Donetsk People’s Republic, as well as in the Kherson, Mykolaiv, Zaporozhye and Kharkiv regions, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
In particular, the Aidar nationalist battalion (banned in Russia) * in the DPR lost more than half of its personnel.
“In the course of hostilities in the area of the settlement of Zaitsevo of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the 24th battalion of the Aidar national formation of the 53rd mechanized brigade lost more than half of its personnel. The command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine withdrew the remnants of the unit to Chasov Yar, ”said the official representative of the Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov.
The Aidar battalion was created in early May 2014 on the initiative of the former commandant of the Maidan Self-Defense Sergei Melnichukthe next 80-100 volunteers were selected and sent to the battalion by the former head of the “Maidan self-defense” Andrey Parubiy.
Many fighters from Maidan Self-Defense joined the battalion. Unlike other territorial defense battalions created before the beginning of September 2014, the military commissariats did not take part in the recruitment of the Aidar battalion with personnel – the battalion commander himself was responsible for enrolling candidates for the unit. Initially, the formation was financed by the former chairman of the state administration of the Dnepropetrovsk region, an oligarch Igor Kolomoisky.
Already in 2014, representatives of the Western media noted that the battalion adheres to right-wing radical and neo-Nazi views and uses Nazi symbols.
In 2015, the battalion was officially disbanded in order to “prevent the illegal actions of some representatives of volunteer formations.” After a “careful selection of military personnel”, it was reorganized into the 24th separate assault battalion of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
We also recall that the Aidar battalion was marked by atrocities against the civilian population of Donbass and unmotivated violence against its own colleagues, as well as by performing the functions of “blocking detachments”. So, recently it was reported about the exchange of fire between “Aidar” and a unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the area of Ugledar. The servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wanted to leave their positions and leave the city, and the nationalists, seeing this, opened fire on them, and a battle ensued.
I wonder if they can quickly complete the battalion after such losses? Hardly ideological nationalists with combat experience are a rare commodity in Ukraine. On the other hand, all these years, many experts have said that the Ukrainian authorities themselves are interested in the “utilization” of such “material” in the war, since it poses a real danger to them.
“National battalions are more ideologically biased than other Ukrainian units,” notes historian, publicist, permanent expert of the Izborsk club Alexander Dmitrievsky.
– In terms of combat capability, they are no higher, and sometimes even weaker, than army units. And judging by the scale of the losses of the Ukrainian military, the issue of the disposal of the national battalions has not been on the agenda of the Kyiv leadership for a long time.
“Initially, these were the so-called volunteer battalions, where mainly people from nationalist and Nazi paramilitary formations went,” recalls Advisor to the President of the Russian Association for Baltic Studies Vsevolod Shimov.
– This audience can really be called “thugs”. Now, as far as I understand, these units are built into the state military machine, but the specific “spirit” has remained there. However, now all the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in fact, are built on the principle of these volunteer battalions, and the servicemen undergo appropriate training.
“SP”: — It will be reported that the command of the Ukrainian army decided to withdraw the remnants of the unit from the front line. And in recent years, many experts have been convincing us that the task of Kyiv is to dispose of all these national battalions. Not? And that’s a good opportunity…
– I don’t think. In Ukraine, these formations are covered with a certain “heroic” mythology, so it’s impossible to get rid of them just like that. Another question is that as a result of knocking out personnel, their rotation will occur. Thanks to this, the formations themselves can become more manageable and loyal.
“SP”: —Losing half of the composition is a lot? Will they get new ones soon?
– I have no doubt that they will gain, although the quality of the “material” and the fighting spirit, for sure, will no longer be the same …
“SP”: —Are there many stubborn Natsiks in Ukraine? Is it really just to “click” them all? How many of them even fight?
– There, this audience is reproduced all the time, since the very ideological atmosphere of Ukraine is such that it contributes to the reproduction of the ultra-right subculture. Therefore, either passionate youth, who believed in the romance of the national struggle, or ordinary urks, are constantly nailed to such formations.
“SP”: — How much of a threat do they pose? Is it possible to speak of them as a serious military force that will resist to the last?
— The history of the Azov Regiment ** has shown that in such formations there really are the most motivated or those who have nothing to lose. Therefore, I would not underestimate the threat.
“All the political influence of the Ukrainian national battalions and their commanders remained in 2015,” I am convinced former LNR militia Alexander Averin.
– The last influential, well-armed and trained unit of the Ukrainian Nazis was the banned “Azov”, but it also ended in Mariupol. All other national battalions are simply invisible against the backdrop of almost a million people.
“SP”: — Finding new ideologically motivated Nazis is not a problem now?
– Of course not. In recent years, the Nazi ideology in Ukraine has strengthened and blossomed in black and red. Eight years of military propaganda have done their job. A typical Ukrainian Nazi is no longer a football fan, but a representative of a wide section of society – from yesterday’s schoolboy to a middle-aged housewife. You need to fight them the same way as in 1945.
“SP”: — Do these people pose any particular danger? Perhaps they should not be taken prisoner?
– In the heat of battle, our fighters, of course, can “not bring to the headquarters” of certain Ukrainian Nazis. However, when you fundamentally do not take enemy soldiers prisoner, those soldiers will fight with the desperation of the doomed. It is much more reasonable to take them prisoner and conduct a thorough investigation on each. If a hypothetical Natsik committed war crimes, well, there is a death penalty in the DNR…
* “Aidar” is an extremist organization banned on the territory of the Russian Federation.
** The Ukrainian battalion “Azov” was recognized as a terrorist organization by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation