Russian separatist forces in Donbas

militias and armed volunteer groups affiliated with the Union of Novorossiya

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Russian separatist forces in Donbas
Сепаратистские силы на Донбассе
War flag of Novorussia.svg
Founded3 March 2014[1]
(as Donbas People's Militia)
Current form16 September 2014[2]
Leadership
Supreme Commanders-in-ChiefDonetsk People's Republic Denis Pushilin
Luhansk People's Republic Leonid Pasechnik
Commanders of the People's Militia DirectorateDonetsk People's Republic Major General Denis Sinenkov[3]
Luhansk People's Republic Guards Colonel Yan Leshchenko[4]
Personnel
Active personnel~44,000 (2021)[5]
Industry
Foreign suppliers Russia[6]
Related articles
HistoryRusso-Ukrainian War

Russian separatist forces in Donbas are militias and armed volunteer groups affiliated with the Russian-recognized pro-Russian breakaway regions in the Donbas region of Ukraine: the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People's Republic (LPR). The main groups are the Donetsk People's Militia and Lugansk People's Militia, which have been fighting the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donbas War. They are designated as terrorist groups by the Government of Ukraine.[7]

The Donbas People's Militia was formed in March 2014 by Pavel Gubarev, who was elected "People's Governor" of Donetsk Oblast.[8] The Army of the South-East was formed in April 2014 in Luhansk Oblast. They were originally involved in taking control of Ukrainian government buildings in the oblasts. Tensions increased to the point of the Ukrainian government launching the Anti-Terrorist Operation against the militas, triggering the War in Donbas. The militias were accused by the Ukrainian government of culpability in shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014. Separatist leaders denied this.[9] In September 2014, the militias of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics merged under the umbrella of the United Armed Forces of Novorossiya (Russian: Объединённые Вооруженные Силы Новороссии; acronym NAF),[2][10] which was to be affiliated with the unrecognized political union of Novorossiya (New Russia). The two militias became the DPR 1st Army Corps[11] and LPR 2nd Army Corps.[12] However, the Novorossiya project was suspended in May 2015.

It is widely believed that the separatists are supported by the Russian Armed Forces.[13] Ukraine, the United States, and some analysts consider 1st and 2nd Army Corps to be Russian formations under the command of the 8th Combined Arms Army,[14][15][16][17] which was formed in 2017 in Novocherkassk, Rostov oblast. Although the Russian government often denies direct involvement, saying their soldiers were there voluntarily and not under orders, some of them have been captured with documents that said otherwise.[18] The separatists have admitted receiving supplies from Russia and being trained there. BBC reported that separatist ranks are composed of thousands of Russian citizens.[18][19] Registered Cossacks of the Russian Federation are also supporting the separatists. DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko claimed in August 2014 that there were around 3,000 to 4,000 Russian volunteers fighting for his militia, which included serving and retired Russian Army servicemen.[20] It is alleged that since September 2015, the separatist units, at the battalion level and up, are acting under direct command of Russian Army officers, with former local commanders sometimes serving as their deputies.[21]

History

Pro-Russian rally in Donetsk on April 6, 2014

On 3 March 2014, during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine, groups of protesters took control of the regional administration building in Donetsk.[22] A newly created armed opposition group named the Donbas People's Militia, led by Pavel Gubarev, participated.[22] This happened when 11 Ukrainian cities with significant populations of ethnic Russians erupted in demonstrations against the new Ukrainian government.[22] On 6 April 2014, 2,000 pro-Russian protesters rallied outside the regional administration building.[23] On the same day, groups of protesters in Eastern Ukraine stormed the regional administration building in Kharkiv, and the SBU headquarters in Luhansk.[8] The groups created a people's council and demanded a referendum like the one held in Crimea.[23][nb 1] Within a few days, several government buildings in cities such as Kramatorsk and Sloviansk were also stormed.[32][33] On 12 April, the supporters of the Donetsk People's Republic and members of Donbas People's Militia set up checkpoints and barricades in Sloviansk.[34][35][36] The same day, former members of the Donetsk "Berkut" unit joined the ranks of the Donbas People's Militia.[37]

On 13 April, the newly established Ukrainian government gave the separatists a deadline to disarm or face a "full-scale anti-terrorist campaign" in the region.[38] Later that day, the first reports came in of fighting between the people's militia and Ukrainian troops near Sloviansk, with casualties on both sides.[39][40] On 14 April, members of the Donbas People's Militia blocked Ukrainian military KrAZ trucks armed with Grad missiles from entering the city.[41][42] On 15 April, a full scale "Anti-Terrorist Operation" was launched by the Ukrainian government with aim of restoring their authority over the areas seized by the militia.[43]

Sloviansk city council under control of Russian Registered Cossacks[44] on 14 April 2014
DPR troops in Donetsk during a rehearsal for the 2015 Victory Day parade

On 16 April, the militia entered Sloviansk with six BMD airborne amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicles[45][46] they had obtained from elements of the 25th Airborne Brigade[47] who had switched allegiance.[48][49][50] A Ukrainian military column was disarmed after the vehicles were blockaded by locals in Kramatorsk.[51] The militia also received a 2S9 "Nona-S" self-propelled 120 mm mortar.[52][53] On April 20, an unidentified armed group in civilian clothes attacked a militia checkpoint at the entrance to the city of Sloviansk. Three attackers and three members of the militia were killed.[54] On May 14, eight members of the militia seized an IMR armored vehicle from Novokramatorsky Mashinostroitelny Zavod.[55]

On May 15, the Donbas People's Militia sent an ultimatum to Kiev. They demanded the withdrawal of all Ukrainian troops from Donetsk oblast.[56] On May 17, several members of the militia seized two BRDM unarmed armored vehicles from Severodonetsk and Lysychansk (Luhansk Oblast)[57] On May 22, the Federal State of Novorossiya was declared. On May 23, several members of the people's militia seized another BRDM-RKh unarmed armored vehicle from Loskutovka (Luhansk Oblast)[58]

In July 2014, the estimated manpower of the separatists was around 10,000 – 20,000.[59][60]

The militia were widely suspected to have been involved in the downing of a civilian airliner, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, on 17 July 2014.[61][62]

On August 8, the militia claimed that after battles near the Russian border, they had captured 67 pieces of equipment in varying conditions (serviceable equipment without ammunition and fuel, with faults, damaged in battle and completely unusable), including 18 “Grad” multiple rocket launching systems, 15 tanks and armored personnel carriers, howitzers, MANPADS, etc.[63] As of August 12, the militia had at least 200 armored vehicles.[64]

The months of July and early August were disastrous for the militias, with many analysts saying they were on the verge of defeat, before a sudden counteroffensive, which the Ukrainian government said was supported by Russian troops, encircled thousands of Ukrainian troops and forced them into a retreat.[65] The militias soon re-captured several strategic positions such as Savur-Mohyla and Luhansk International Airport.[66] The armies of both the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) merged on 16 September 2014 to form the "United Armed Forces of Novorossiya".[2][67] It was formed under the command of Lieutenant General Ivan Korsun as commander-in-chief.[68]

On 2 February 2015, Head of the DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko, announced that there would be a general mobilization in the DPR of 10,000 volunteers, and he aimed to eventually expand the NAF to 100,000 soldiers.[69]

In March 2015, the estimated manpower of the separatists rose to 30,000 – 35,000 personnel.[70]

On 20 May 2015 the leadership of the Federal State of Novorossiya announced the termination of the confederation 'project'[71][72] but the United Armed Forces was retained as the joint armed service of the DPR and LPR.[73]

The Ukrainian government in mid-2015 claimed there were about 42,500 fighters on the separatists’ side, which include 9,000 Russian soldiers.[74]

Structure

Oplot Brigade during a rehearsal for the 2015 Victory Day parade

The militias consist of different armed groups, sworn to the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic. Militant groups which refused to do so were disarmed as gangs in the DPR.[75] Other groups are autonomous forces.[76]

According to The Ukrainian Week, a Donetsk Operative Command set up in May 2016 by Russia coordinates the military efforts of the Donetsk People's Republic.[77] The tank battalions they claim Russia can deploy include the DPR Diesel Battalion, and LPR August Battalion.[77] Euromaidan Press reported in September 2018 that the United Armed Forces of Novorossiya comprised two army corps: the 1st corps, called the “People's Militia of the DNR” and the 2nd corps, called “People's Militia of the LNR”.[78]

On 28 December 2018 commander of the Ukrainian Navy Ihor Voronchenko claimed that the DPR had created a flotilla stationed at Novoazovsk, made up of about 25 converted fishing boats.[79] According to Voronchenko, the DPR had named this flotilla the "9th Regiment of the Marine Corps".[79]

Combat forces

Flag of the Vostok Battalion
Flag of the Sparta Battalion
Flag of the Somalia Battalion
Donetsk People's Republic

1445528704 8r94r klga0.jpg DPR Armed Forces (Russian: Вооружённые силы ДНР) – Formed on 14 November 2014.

  • 1st Slavyansk Brigade SSI (2016).png 1st Sloviansk Brigade (Russian: 1-ая Славянская бригада) – Brigade formerly commanded by Igor “Strelkov” Girkin.[80]
  • Patriotic Forces of Donbas[81] (Russian: Патриотические силы Донбасса)
  • Oplot Brigade SSI.png Oplot Brigade (Russian: Батальон «Оплот», meaning "Bulwark Battalion") – Commanded by Alexander Zakharchenko.[88][89] Originally a battalion, it expanded to a brigade by May 2015.
  • Flag of the Russian Orthodox Army.svg Russian Orthodox Army (Russian: Русская православная армия) – A senior commander of the unit is Alexander Verin.[89] One of the armed groups which control Donetsk, mostly firmed from locals from coal mine towns.[90] It reportedly had 100 members at its founding. According to Ukrainian sources, in June 2014 it had at least 350 fighters.[91] According to independent sources, as fighting between separatists and the Ukrainian government worsened in Donbas, membership rose to 4,000.[92]
  • Flag of the Miner's Division.svg Miners' Division (Russian: Шахтёрская дивизия) – Founded shortly after the rebel withdrawal from Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, commanded by Konstantin Kuzmin. Fighters range from ages 22–60. Composed of former coal miners.[93]
  • Consolidated Orthodox Battalion "Voshod" or Voshod Battalion (Russian: Батальон «Восход», meaning "Sunrise Battalion") – Formed in June 2014, it had 300 fighters.[95]
  • Steppe Battalion (Russian: Батальон «Степь»)[96]
  • DPR Security Service Battalion (Russian: Батальон службы безопасности Донецкой народной республики) – Security Service of the Donetsk People's Republic.[94]
  • SSI of the Sparta Battalion.svg Sparta Battalion (Russian: Батальон «Спарта») – Special forces battalion formed and led by Arsen Pavlov, known as Motorola until his assassination. His successor was Vladimir Zhoga, from Sloviansk, and known by Voha.[97]
  • SSI of the Somalia Battalion.svg 1st Separate Battalion-Tactical Group "Somalia" or Somalia Battalion (Russian: Батальон «Сомали») – Tactical group led by Lieutenant colonel Mikhail Tolstykh, known as Givi until his assassination.
  • Emblem-RG-DPR.jpg DPR Republican Guard (Russian: Республиканская гвардия ДНР) – Elite unit created by Alexander Zakharchenko on January 12, 2015.[98][99] Commanded by Major-general Ivan Kondratov, and composed of six battalions that total more than 3,000 fighters.[99]
    • Pyatnashka Brigade SSI.png International Brigade "Pyatnashka" or Pyatnashka Brigade (Russian: Бригада «Пятнашка», meaning "15th Brigade") – International brigade commanded by Akhra Avidzba, known by Abkhaz. DPR positions in Marinka are held by this unit.[100]
  • Diesel Battalion SSI.png Diesel Battalion (Russian: Батальон «Дизель») – Separate tank battalion formed in 2015, equipped with Soviet equipment, including T-72B1s.[77][101]
  • Mariupol-Khingan Naval Infantry SSI.png Mariupol-Khingan Naval Infantry (Russian: Мариупольско-Хинганский морская пехота) – Formed in 2016. The name is based on the Soviet World War II 221st Infantry Mariupol-Khingan Red Banner Order of Suvorov Rifle Division.
Independent DPR forces
  • International Battalions – Includes Russian, Chechen, Greek, Ossetian, Polish, Hungarian, Serbian, Latvian, Belarusian, Uzbek, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Armenian and other volunteers.[102][103][104][105][106]
  • Varyag Battalion (Russian: Батальон «Варяг»), meaning "Varangian Battalion" – Volunteer battalion commanded by Alexander Matyushin.[112]
Luhansk People's Republic

The emblem of the People's militia of Lugansk People's Republic.png LPR People's Militia (Russian: Народная милиция ЛНР).

Independent LPR forces
Flag of the Prizrak Brigade
  • Don Cossacks National Guard Banner.jpg Great Host of Don Cossacks (Russian: Всевеликое войско Донское)[119] – An international organisation that recruits volunteers from Ukraine and Russia.[120]
    • Всевеликое войско Донское (шеврон).png Cossack National Guard (Russian: Казачья Национальная гвардия) – Don Cossack volunteer group commanded by Rashid Shakirzanov.[76] The group has over 4,000 fighters and access to armor and artillery.[76] From May to November 2014, the group was commanded by Ataman Nikolai Kozitsyn.[76][121] Kozitsyn was forcibly removed from power in November 2014 and replaced by Shakirzanov.[76] The group's headquarters is in Antratsyt, and their rule expands to Krasnyi Luch.[76] Initially, this group was identified as Russian Special Forces by the U.S. State Department following the takeover of the Sloviansk city council.[122] In November 2014, the group instated capital punishment in Perevalsk to deter crime.[123] Kozitsyn stated that there is no more marauding, burglaries or car-jacking in the city.[123] They refused to join the LPR's military command, but cooperate with them, remaining autonomous and controlling territory.[76]
  • First Cossack Regiment SSI.png First Cossack Regiment (Russian: Первый казачий полк) – Don Cossack volunteer group commanded by Ataman Pavel Dryomov. The group has around 1,300 fighters, and its headquarters is in Stakhanov.[76] Originally part of Kozitsyn's Cossack National Guard until it split in September 2014.[76] Dryomov denounced the LPR's leadership as corrupt and "pro-oligarchic".[76] Dryomov was killed on 12 December 2015 when his car was blown up by an unknown perpetrator the day after his wedding.[124]
  • «Ghost» Brigade shoulder patch.png Mechanized Brigade "Prizrak" or Prizrak Brigade (Russian: Бригада «Призрак», meaning "Ghost Brigade") – Mechanized infantry brigade commanded by Yuri Shevchenko, formed and led by Aleksey Mozgovoy until his assassination on 23 May 2015.[80] The group keeps its distance from LPR authorities and is based in Alchevsk and the surrounding district.[76]
    • PiotrBiriukovCommunistUnit.jpg DKO (Russian: ДКО – Добровольческий коммунистический отряд) Volunteer Communist Detachment, an international organisation commanded by Piotr Biriukov.[125][126]
    • Unité Continentale emblem.png Continental Unit (French: Unité Continentale) – French, Serbian and Brazilian volunteer group.[127][128]
Former Units/Disbanded

Donbass People's Militia flag.png Donbas People's Militia (Russian: Народное ополчение Донбасса) – Main militia of the Donetsk People's Republic from 3 March to 16 September 2014.

Flag of the Rapid Response Group "Batman"
  • United Battalions of the DPR and LPR.[129]
    • North Battalion (DPR) (Russian: Батальон «Север») (unofficial)[130]
    • Luhansk People's Militia (Russian: Народное ополчение Луганщины)[131]
      • Battalion Prizrak SSI.png Prizrak Battalion (LPR)

Army of the South-East (Russian: Армия Юго-Востока)[132][133][134][135] – Main militia forces of the Luhansk People's Republic from Mid April to 16 September 2014.

  • SSI of the Rapid Response Group "Batman".svg Rapid Response Group "Batman" or Batman Battalion (Russian: Группа быстрого реагирования «Бэтмен») – Commanded by Alexander Bednov until he was killed in an attack on his convoy on 1 January 2015.[136] Members of the group said that the attack was ordered by head of the Luhansk People's Republic Igor Plotnitsky.[136] According to them, Bednov and his fighters were killed "by order of Plotnitsky" because he was "ordered to sweep all intransigent commanders."[137][138] Following this attack, the LPR arrested some of Bednov's men, and dissolved the battalion.[139] Some of its personnel were dispersed into other LPR units, while DPR field commanders Givi and Motorola invited former members to join their battalions.[139]
    • Kolovrat (Коловрат) Swastika (Свастика) - Rodnovery.svg Rusich Company (Russian: ДШРГ «Русич») – Special forces-type company commanded by Aleksey Milchakov, a Russian Neo Nazi.[140] Made up of far-right Russian and other European volunteers.[139] On July 10, 2015, Milchakov announced that the Rusich Company would be withdrawing from Donbas for retraining and refitting.[141]
  • Emblem of the International Brigades.svg Interunit – A far-left military political unit build inside the Prizrak Brigade composed of internationalist volunteers formed in 2015. The bulk of the volunteers came from Spain[142], while was commanded by an Italian fighter called "Nemo"[143]. It was operational until 2017.

Non-combat units

  • Novorossiya Humanitarian Battalion (Russian: Гуманитарный батальон «Новороссия») – Non-combat unit involved in protecting the delivery of humanitarian aid.[144]

Commanders

Former Head of the DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko

Donetsk People's Republic Donetsk People's Republic

Luhansk People's Republic Luhansk People's Republic

Equipment

According to Armament Research Services (ARES), the rebels mostly used equipment that was available domestically before the Ukrainian crisis. However, they were also seen with weapons that were not known to have been exported to Ukraine, or otherwise be available there, including some of the latest models of Russian military equipment, never exported outside Russia.[152]

Vikings Battalion infantrymen with Russian military equipment in July 2015

According to the Donetsk People's Republic, all of its military equipment is "hardware that we took from the Ukrainian military".[153] However, according to the Ukrainian government and the United States Department of State, this is a false. They claim the separatists have received military equipment from Russia, including multiple rocket launch systems and tanks.[6] Although Russian officials deny supplying arms to the militia, substantial evidence proves supports this.[152][6][154] In August 2014 Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey said the proof for the weapons supply from Russia was that the fighters of the Donbas People's Militia were using Russian-made weapons never used (or bought) by the Ukrainian army.[155]

Such exclusively Russian equipment seen with pro-Russian separatists includes Russian modifications of T-72 tanks (particularly T-72B3 and T-72BA seen destroyed in Ukraine[152][156]), BTR-82AM infantry fighting vehicle (adopted in Russia in 2013),[157][158] BPM-97 armored personnel carriers,[159][160] sophisticated anti-aircraft system Pantsir-S1,[161][162] multipurpose vehicle GAZ Vodnik (adopted in Russia in 2005),[159] Russian modifications of MT-LB, rocket-propelled flamethrower MRO-A, anti-tank missile Kornet, anti-materiel rifle ASVK, suppressed sniper rifle VSS Vintorez and others.[152][157]

Military training

Higher Combined Arms Command School

The Donetsk Higher Combined Arms Command School (Russian: Донецкого высшего общевойскового командного училища) is a higher level institution in the ideological training of cadets.[163] People from both the DPR and LPR can enroll at the school.[164] It prepares future command cadres in four areas: reconnaissance, tank forces, infantry, and political officers.[clarification needed] Upon graduation, the cadets are commissioned as lieutenants. Since the fall of 2016, the Military Lyceum is affiliated to the DHCACS.

Military-Physical Training Lyceum

Lyceum students on parade.
Members of the lyceum in their white dress uniform.

The Georgy Beregovoy Military-Physical Training Lyceum (Russian: Лицей с усиленной военно-физической подготовкой имени дважды Героя Советского Союза, летчика-космонавта СССР, генерал-лейтенанта Г.Т.Берегового) is an educational facility of the People's Militia, being akin to the Suvorov Military School or the Ivan Bohun Military High School. It was established on 15 May 1993 by decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine as the Donetsk Higher Military-Political School of Engineering and Signal Corps. From 1993 to 2000, the Lyceum was with a three-year form of study. Over two decades, 2,793 graduates graduated from the institution, more than 1,000 of them currently serve in officer posts in various power structures of Ukraine.[165] It was renamed and converted in 2014; since then more than 300 students have graduated.[166] The school is open to boys between 14 and 16 years old, many of whom come from military families. The cadets live at the school six days a week.[167]

Relationship with Russia

As the conflict intensified, the Donbas People's Militia was bolstered with many volunteers from the former Soviet Union, mainly Russia; including fighters from Chechnya and North Ossetia.[168]

According to the Ukrainian government and the United States Department of State the Donbas People's Militia has received military equipment from Russia, including Russian tanks and multiple rocket launchers.[6] Russia has denied supplying weapons and has described the Russian citizens fighting with the Donbas People's Militia as volunteers.[6][169] The Donetsk People's Republic claimed on 16 August 2014 that it had received (together with 30 tanks and 120 other armoured vehicles of undisclosed origin) 1,200 "individuals who have gone through training over a four-month period on the territory of the Russian Federation".[170][171] Prime Minister of the DPR Alexander Zakharchenko said in August 2014 that it had not received military equipment from Russia; and all of its military equipment was "hardware that we took from the Ukrainian military".[153]

Some injured militia members received medical care in Russia.[168] In mid-August 2014, hospitals such as the Donetsk Central Hospital in Donetsk, Russia tended to between ten and twenty injured fighters daily.[168] The Russian Emergency Ministry assisted with treatment logistics.[168] Those questioned and registered by the (Russian) Federal Security Service[168] and treated in Russia during this period stated that they would not return to Ukraine if the Ukrainian army won the war in Donbas,[168] but would, instead, engage in a partisan warfare campaign in Eastern Ukraine.[168]

Right-wing nationalism

Insignia of the Sparta Battalion, which features the Russian Imperial flag

According to a 2016 report by Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI), Russian ethnic and imperialist nationalism has shaped the official ideology of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.[172] During the War in Donbas, especially at the beginning, far-right groups played an important role on the pro-Russian side, arguably more so than on the Ukrainian side.[172][173] Afterward, the pro-Russian far-right groups became less important in Donbass and the need for Russian radical nationalists started to disappear.[172]

According to Marlène Laruelle, separatist ideologues in Donbas produced an ideology composed of three strands of Russian nationalism: fascist, Orthodox, and Soviet.[173]

Members and former members of the National Bolshevik Party, Russian National Unity (RNU), Eurasian Youth Union, and Cossack groups participated in starting branches for the recruitment of the separatists.[172][174][175][176] A former RNU member, Pavel Gubarev, was founder of the Donbas People's Militia and first "governor" of the Donetsk People's Republic.[172][177] RNU is particularly linked to the Russian Orthodox Army,[172] one of a number of separatist units described as "pro-Tsarist" and "extremist" Orthodox nationalists.[178][172] 'Rusich' is part of the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary group in Ukraine which has been linked to far-right extremism.[179][180]

Some of the most influential nationalists and far-right activists among the Russian separatists are neo-imperialists, who seek to revive the Russian Empire.[172] These included Igor 'Strelkov' Girkin, first "minister of defence" of the Donetsk People's Republic, who espouses Russian neo-imperialism and ethno-nationalism.[172] The Russian Imperial Movement, a white supremacist militant group,[179] has recruited thousands of volunteers to join the separatists.[178] Some separatists have flown the black-yellow-white Russian imperial flag,[172] such as the Sparta Battalion. In 2014, volunteers from the National Liberation Movement joined the Donetsk People's Militia bearing portraits of Tsar Nicholas II.[174]

Other Russian nationalist volunteers involved in the separatism include members of the Eurasian Youth Union, and banned groups like the Slavic Union and Movement Against Illegal Immigration.[175] Another Russian separatist paramilitary unit, the Interbrigades, is made up of activists from the National Bolshevik (Nazbol) group Other Russia.[172]

While far-right activists played a part in the early days of the conflict, their importance was often exaggerated, and their importance on both sides of the conflict declined over time. The political climate in Donetsk further pushed far-right groups into the margins.[172]

War crime allegations

An 18 November 2014 United Nations report on eastern Ukraine stated that the DPR was in a state of "total breakdown of law and order".[181] The report noted "cases of serious human rights abuses by the armed groups continued to be reported, including torture, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, summary executions, forced labour, sexual violence, as well as the destruction and illegal seizure of property may amount to crimes against humanity".[181]

In September 2015, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) published a report on the testimonies of victims held in places of illegal detention in Donbas.[182] In December 2015, a team led by Małgorzata Gosiewska published a comprehensive report on war crimes in Donbas.[183]

See also

Notes

References

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    Русский и бессмысленный // LENTA.RU от 6 марта 2014
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  179. ^ a b Townsend, Mark (20 March 2022). "Russian mercenaries in Ukraine linked to far-right extremists". The Guardian. Russian mercenaries fighting in Ukraine, including the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group, have been linked to far-right extremism ... Much of the extremist content, posted on Telegram and the Russian social media platform VKontakte (VK), relates to a far-right unit within the Wagner Group called Rusich ... One post on the messaging app Telegram, dated 15 March, shows the flag of the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), a white-supremacist paramilitary ... Another recent VK posting lists Rusich as part of a coalition of separatist groups and militias including the extreme far-right group, Russian National Unity.
  180. ^ Šmíd, Tomáš & Šmídová, Alexandra. (2021). Anti-government Non-state Armed Actors in the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Czech Journal of International Relations, Volume 56, Issue 2. pp.48-49. Quote: "Another group of Russian citizens who became involved in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine were members of the so-called right-wing units of the Russian Spring."
  181. ^ a b Almost 1,000 dead since east Ukraine truce – UN Archived 3 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine, BBC News (21 November 2014)
    Ukraine death toll rises to more than 4,300 despite ceasefire – U.N. Archived 16 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters (21 November 2014)
  182. ^ "Surviving hell – testimonies of victims on places of illegal detention in Donbas". Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. osce.org. 25 September 2015. Archived from the original on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
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