"We came to fight against NATO, fascism and imperialism"
The war in Donbass has attracted a large number of foreign mercenaries
Denis Popovich Monday, February 23, 2015, 08:31
view the article in Ukrainian
The International Human Rights Commission states that there are a large number of mercenaries from the countries of Eastern and Western Europe fighting on the side of militants in Donbass. So, on the territory of the self-proclaimed LNR and DNR there are units of Serbian mercenary troops which were recruited by the “Patronat” organization headquartered in Moscow. In addition, the illegal armed formations of separatists at different times included citizens of France, Spain and Germany. Some of them have already died in the battles on the territory of Ukraine.
There exists a report of the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC). It says about a large number of mercenaries from the countries of Eastern and Western Europe who have joined the ranks of the militants of the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR) and "Lugansk People's Republic" (LNR). Most of the information relates to the events of the last summer and autumn. The report, for example, says that the first time that a EU citizen was detained in the ATO (anti-terrorism operation) zone was recorded on August 19, 2014. It was a citizen of Slovakia Miroslav Rohach. His passport had a note indicating that he crossed the border of Ukraine on July 3, 2014 at Kiev Zhuliany Airport. However, the separatists from Donbass receive much more "help" from Serbia whose citizens create entire units fighting on the side of the LNR and DNR.
- Serbian mercenaries
‘In Ukraine, the Serbian mercenary unit consisted of 46 people, but on July 22 it was reported that more than 200 mercenaries arrived from Serbia to Eastern Ukraine,’ the IHRC report says. Among them - Dejan Berich ("Deca") who became a sniper in the ranks of separatists. ‘I became a sniper because of circumstances. A sniper killed 2-3 civilians from Donetsk airport every day. We couldn’t get him in four days. During these four days, his balance of the dead reached twelve people. Of these, only one was a man, the rest were women and children. I took a sniper rifle, I understood where he was shooting from and fixed the point where I would be waiting for him. I was lucky to see him right after the first shot. He did not shoot anymore. After that, I was tasked with destroying snipers,’ Dejan Berich explained in an interview.
"Deca" was seen in the summer battles near Marinovka, where he helped a group of the terrorist "Motorola" and, according to him, he knocked down an APC (armoured personnel carrier) with the help of a sniper rifle. In the autumn he acted as an active member of the illegal armed formation "Kalmius", and this year he has taken part in the battles for Donetsk airport. Dejan Berich himself denies that he is a mercenary and receives regular payment for his work. "About a month and a half ago we received a thousand hryvnia - the officer's salary. The soldier’s salary is less. I do not know for sure how much, but it makes about 70 dollars a month. They gave it once and there hasn’t been anything else,’ Berich said in his November interview.
The militant explains his appearance in Ukraine as the desire to ‘help the Orthodox Christian brothers and to fight against the perpetrators from NATO who bombed our country’: ‘I will never forget what the NATO perpetrators did in Serbia."
The same motives are followed by other Serbs who are fighting in the so-called mechanized brigade "Ghost", operating on the territory controlled by the LNR. ‘We came to fight against NATO, fascism and imperialism. The people in Serbia support Russia, but we have a pro-American power,’ said a 28-year-old Serb named Steven who arrived from the city of Kovin.
Last Novenmer, a video appeared on the Internet where a young man in camouflage clothes and a military beret, who was introduced as Ivan Ivanovich (covername "Kum"), in the Serbian language announced the ‘mobilization of new Serbian volunteers,’ from which it was planned to form ‘two squadrons’. One unit was supposed to operate on the territory controlled by the DNR, and the other - on the territory of the LNR. Two squadrons, according to "Kum", were to be combined in the so-called "Serbian Hussar Regiment" whose history dates back to the times of Peter the Great. The regiment also had to be equipped with armored vehicles and artillery and contribute to ‘establishing “Novorossia” from Kharkov to Odessa’.
As noted in the IHRC document, ‘selection and training of terrorist formations from Serbia are carried out by the organization “Patriot” headquartered in Moscow’, and the chief recruiter of the mercenaries was the so-called Vasily Zaitsev (Goran Yevtich) from the community of Smederevska Palanka.
It was the “Serbian Hussars” who took part in the battles for Donetsk airport. On January 20 the “Hussar” detachment, together with the militants of the “Vostok” and “Oplot” armed formations, took part in the operation to occupy the settlement of Peski near Donetsk airport. The attack was defeated. In this attack the Serbian unit didn’t suffer losses, but it was forced to turn back.
Serbian mercenary Dejan Berich (“Deca”) who became a sniper in the ranks of separatists in Donbass.
Photograph from the personal web-page in social network VKontakte, dated October 7, 2014, Photo: vk.com
- French Foreign Legion
In mid-August, the French state radio station France Info reported that ‘about 20 citizens of France are fighting on both sides of the Ukrainian conflict’. For example, the Ukrainian volunteer battalion “Artyomovsk” captured the hardened mercenary, veteran of the French Foreign Legion with the call sign "Berkut". This man had experience of war in Iraq, and within the territory of Ukraine he organized acts of sabotage in Slavyansk and Artyomovsk.
In addition, in the middle of August, another four French citizens joined the terrorist organization DNR, who, according to the IHRC, introduced themselves as Michelle, Guillaume, Victor Lenfa and Nicolas.
They didn’t refuse to communicate with journalists and were posing in front of the cameras with weapons. Thus, Guillaume claimed that along with his comrades he was committed to the theory of Eurasianism of the Russian philosopher and sociologist Aleksandr Dugin: ‘We saw the Kiev revolution supported by the West. Then we saw aggression in Donbass and realized that the revolution was taking place there, not in Kiev’.
Guillaume also noted that he had an opportunity to assess the capabilities of the Ukrainian army: "They (the soldiers (author's note)) were demoralized. They don’t like Russia, but they also don’t want to fight. They don’t have a combative spirit. They are exhausted and don’t have financial security. For our morale, this spectacle was very useful.
French mercenaries have enough combat experience. Thus, Victor Lenfa was previously a paratrooper, corporal of the Third Airborne Naval Infantry Regiment. Victor was in Afghanistan, Cote d'Ivoire and Chad. Nicolas was a corporal of the mountain infantry forces and also served in Afghanistan. Nicolas arrived in Donbass as an instructor for the "militias". Nicolas was complimentary about their capabilities: ‘Unlike the Ukrainian army, they are highly motivated’.
In the summer, Guillaume said that along with his comrades he plans to form a "Eurasian brigade" in Donbass which would consist of the French and Serbs. He also expressed confidence that the Ukrainian army ‘would not survive the winter and even autumn’, while the "militia" would be becoming stronger. According to some reports, Guillaume was killed in minor actions with Ukrainian soldiers.
A sad fate befell another French mercenary instructor Jeremy Marty (call sign "Teacher"). Early in the morning of January 19, near the village of Sakhanka, he was liquidated by the fighters of the Ukrainian partisan detachment "Shadows". Together with him there were killed two more people - also, most likely, the French.
Veteran of the French Foreign Legion with the call-sign "Berkut", captured by the Ukrainian volunteer battalion "Artyomovsk" in Donbass in August 2014
Mercenaries from other countries
Not only the Serbs and the French go to Donbass. According to the IHRC, on August 8 last year, the border guards in the Lugansk region, near the settlement of Melovoye, detained three violators, among whom there was a Latvian citizen, nicknamed Benya-Antimaydan, who took part in the Crimean confrontation. According to one of the leaders of the illegal DNR, Pavel Gubarev, two representatives of the Italian organization "Millennium" arrived in Donetsk. Citizens of Spain are also fighting on the side of the separatists – a 22-year-old member of the youth wing of the Spanish Communist Party, Angel Davilla-Rivas, and a 27-year-old member of the Spanish political movement "The United Left", Rafa Muñoz Perez.
On the Internet there is a video message of these guys where they assure that the residents of Donbass are not criminals or terrorists: ‘They do not want to kill Ukrainians and attack Kiev, but they want to live in peace’, the Spaniards assured, without specifying who they had in mind - really civilians or armed militants. Rafa and Angel, apparently, are the adherents of the Spanish Republic. During their speech, they pronounced the slogan Viva la Republica, and Rafa himself wore a bandage with the colors of the Republican Spain. As you know, the Spanish Republic enjoyed the support of the USSR, but was defeated by the nationalists of General Franco in the civil war of 1936-1939.
A former nun from Germany, now calling herself a journalist, Margarita Zeidler, is also fighting in the ranks of militants. Under the guise of the media employee, an Australian citizen, who on January 6 was detained by the border guards at the checkpoint "Georgiyevka" in Donbass, tried to enter Ukraine. The involvement of an Australian in the activities of the terrorist organizations was clarified. Among his belongings there were found 10 cartridges of 7.62 mm caliber, body armor, two knives, a pass and a journalist's certificate issued by the gang formation of the DNR.
Spanish mercenaries Angel Davilla-Rivas and Rafa Muñoz Perez who are fighting in Donbass on the separatists’ side Photo: kp.ru
- They are not afraid of punishment
The International Human Rights Committee repeatedly appealed to the government of Serbia with the request to give a legal assessment of the actions of the citizens of their country who are fighting in Donbass as mercenaries. Serbian Prime Minister Alexandar Vučić assured that his state ‘closely follows the actions of its citizens who return from the territories of Syria and Iraq, as well as those who participated in the military clashes in Ukraine’.
Today, the citizens of Serbia, who fought abroad without the permission of the authorities, face criminal liability - for mercenaries up to 5 years of imprisonment, and for the organizers - up to 12 years. In addition, according to the International Human Rights Committee, the Latvian police, together with Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, are ready to respond to the actions of Latvian mercenaries in Ukraine and conduct trials against people suspected of involvement in terrorism in the South-East of Ukraine.
The Serbs themselves are not afraid of punishment. ‘Life can end right here, and in Serbia there is just a prison waiting for us’, said the mercenaries from the “Ghost” brigade. The French do not believe that they are violators at all. ‘We do not think that our government can somehow influence us in the legal field. We are not mercenaries or terrorists. We do not get money. We have an information mission - a mission of soft power’, Viktor Lenfa told the reporters.