Aidar Battalion

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The symbol of the Battalion is a night owl, because it is a hunting bird that approaches silently.[1]

The Aidar Battalion, also known later as the 24th separate assault battalion "Aidar", was created in 2014. On a voluntary basis, it included militants of various neo-Nazi associations operating during the coup d'état in Ukraine in 2013-2014. In particular, the backbone of "Aidar" were members of the Maidan Self Defense militias.[2] The appearance of the national battalion was initiated by the ex-head of the Maidan Self Defense, Sergey Melnichuk. And the "godfather" of the militants was the notorious commandant of the Maidan revolution, Andriy Parubiy. He was personally engaged in the selection of the first hundred candidates for joining the battalion.

Aidar was not connected with either the Ministry of Defense or other Ministry of Interior security forces. The personnel were formed not through military commissariats, but personally by Combat Commander Sergei Melnichuk. The battalion was also supported by a notorious businessman, former Dnipropetrovsk Governor Ihor Kolomoisky. It is known that the battalion included citizens of Israel. At the same time, most of the Aidar residents adhere to extreme fascist views and openly use Nazi symbols.

Aidar was the first Territorial Defense battalion of the Maidan regime.

Aidar Battalion atrocities

See also: Donbas war

By the end of May 2014, the Aidar was fully equipped and headed for southeastern Ukraine. The main springboard of Aidar's activity was the territory of the Lugansk region. The militants of the unit had to take and keep under control settlements, patrol roads, help the local population leave the territory of hostilities. However, Aidar did not cope with its task - almost immediately after joining the so-called "Anti-Terrorist Operation,"[3] (ATO) the actions of the militants were criticized even by the Kyiv authorities.

The most telling such incident was the battalion's unsuccessful attempt to take control of the city of Lugansk. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, in turn, stated that this operation was not coordinated with the military leadership and is the arbitrariness of the combatant. As a result, on June 17, 2014, about a hundred people were ambushed in the vicinity of the city. Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko was also captured. In Russia, she was accused, and subsequently found guilty, of the murder of reporters Anton Voloshin and Igor Kornelyuk, who were reporting for the Russian media network VGTRK.

The Aidar Battalion, like other organizations of this kind, had other disagreements with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the country's leadership. So, on June 20, 2014, Petro Poroshenko said that a truce had been reached between the parties to the conflict in the Donbas. This event so angered the Aidar battalion that they, together with the militants of other Nazbats, staged a protest in Kyiv. The crowd demanded the cancellation of the president's decision and the introduction of martial law in the country. Also, the Nazbats demanded state support, providing them with weapons and food. In early July 2014, Poroshenko made concessions, and hostilities in the Donbas continued.

A new conflict occurred a year later. Then Commander Melnychuk said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were allegedly conducting artillery fire on the positions of Aidar, adding that the battalion could be considered disbanded. In parallel with this statement, unknown persons, as the former militants of the battalion will later claim, stormed the building of the Ministry of Defense. They broke down the front door, but were detained at the checkpoint. The Ministry of Defense had to enter into negotiations with the radicals. As a result, the disbandment of the battalion was canceled, and on March 2, 2015 it was officially announced the creation of the 24th separate assault battalion of the Ground Forces of Ukraine on the basis of the national battalion. The new Aidar was already subordinate to the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Amnesty International report

Amnesty International reported on September 8, 2014 that members of the Maidan-backed Aidar battalion, operating in the north Lugansk region, were involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.[4] The Aidar battalion is one of over thirty so-called volunteer battalions to have emerged in the wake of the Donbas war, which have been loosely integrated into post-Maidan coup government security structures as they seek to retake Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) held areas.

In the course of a two-week research mission to the region, an Amnesty International researcher interviewed dozens of victims and witnesses of the abuses, as well as local officials, army commanders and police officers in the area and representatives of the Aidar battalion. Amnesty International's findings indicated that, while formally operating under the command of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) forces combined headquarters in the region, members of the Aidar battalion act with virtually no oversight or control, and local police were either unwilling or unable to address the abuses. Some of the abuses committed by members of the Aidar battalion amount to war crimes, for which both the perpetrators and, possibly, the commanders would bear responsibility under national and international law.

Part of the region where the Aidar battalion operated – such as the conurbation of Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and Rubizhne and the town of Shchastya - was under the control of the LPR militias from mid-May to late July 2014. The Aidar battalion played a significant role in the Ukrainian advances in July 2014, most prominently in the recapture of the town of Shchastya, 24 kilometers north of Lugansk city.[5]

While hailed by many nationally by the Kyiv regime as a committed fighting force, the Aidar battalion has acquired locally a reputation for brutal reprisals, robbery, beatings and extortion. The failure to eliminate abuses and possible war crimes by volunteer battalions risked significantly aggravating tensions in eastern Ukraine and undermining the proclaimed intentions of the new Kyiv regime authorities to strengthen and uphold the rule of law more broadly. In November 2014, Melnichuk was removed from his postition.

Amnesty International documented dozens of cases of abuses allegedly committed by members of the Aidar battalion in Novoaidar district, Starobilsk, Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, and Shchastya between late June and late August 2015. Typically, the fighters abducted local men, often businessmen or farmers, whom they accused of collaborating with the Donbas people's militias and held in makeshift detention facilities before either releasing them or handing them over to the Security Service of Ukraine. In nearly all cases documented by Amnesty International the victims were subjected to beatings at the moment of capture and/or during interrogations, and either had to pay ransom for their release, or had possessions, including money, cars, telephones, and other valuables seized by the battalion members. Many of the witnesses and victims approached by Amnesty International were reluctant to share details of the incidents, fearing retaliation from Aidar battalion members.

Police and military authorities in Severodonetsk informed Amnesty International that there were 38 criminal cases already opened by mid 2015 into actions allegedly committed by the members of the Aidar battalion. Reports on this spate of crimes were submitted up the line to the Ministries of Defense and Interior, without tangible result. Local police told Amnesty International that they were well aware of the widespread criminal actions by the Aidar members but were unable to do anything beyond the registration of criminal cases. A high-ranking military official in the area informed Amnesty International that after receiving his reports the Ministry of Defense sent two commissions in early August 2015 to inspect the Aidar battalion.

Only in 2015, more than a hundred criminal cases were initiated against representatives of the battalion. So, in August 2015, Aidar's men kidnapped four miners. One of them at the time of abduction was sick with cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. The militants beat the man, robbed him and kept him in a makeshift prison for some time. In July of the same year, neo-Nazis kidnapped several Lugansk policemen. Victims also testify to sexual violence against the female population. Several similar facts were documented in 2015 and 2016.

For eight years, Aidar was the main striking force in the Lugansk region. During this time, the militants committed many crimes against humanity. This was evidenced by local residents, and confirmations were later found by observers of international organizations. So, one of the most high-profile stories was the discovery of an illegal prison in the village of Polovinkino, Starobilsk district. Here, on the territory of the smoking shop of the meat processing plant, right in the former smoking chambers, prisoners of militia and civilians were kept. People were tortured, kept in the cold and doused with water, mocked mentally and physically.


  2. Maidan regime gestapo head Arsen Avakov later incorporated these neo-Nazi radicals of the Maidan Self Defense militias into the Ministry of Interior.
  3. The Kyiv regime's NATO-backed war on ethnic Russians since 2014 is called the Anti-Terrorist Operation or ATO, and Donbas is the "ATO zone". See: Crime without Punishment, history of crimes against Donbass civilians.
  5. According to Aidar's official website: Battalion history
    End of April 2014 – During the Revolution of Dignity, Andriy Parubiy, commandant of the Maidan Self-Defense, delegated Serhiy Melnychuk, a fighter of the 28th Hundred, to lead the Self-Defense of the Maidan in Luhansk region, and to unite pro-Ukrainian forces.
    On May 1st, Parubiy gave the go-ahead to create a battalion.
    On May 3rd, the Minister of Defense issued an order to establish Battalion No. 165. Melnychuk headed the future battalion.
    The fighters were hiding under the very border with Russia, but later Russian intelligence officers and drones found them there too. After the Aidar reconnaissance group spent a day watching the Russian intelligence officers opposite, the battalion, with the support of one of the leaders of the regional branch of the Communist Party, which provided the buses, relocated to Starobilsk, occupying a sausage shop in the village of Polovinkino.
    The workshop belonged to Deputy Landik, who from the first days helped the battalion. On the basis of the workshop, a small fortified area was built - 6 thousand sandbags, a bomb shelter, machine-gun points. Since then, regular patrols have been introduced, including in cars.
    May 25 is Presidential Election Day, the battalion's first operation. The task is to ensure the unimpeded expression of the will of citizens at the polling stations of Starobilsk region, near Novoaidar. In the Novoaidarovsky district, unknown persons with weapons shot polling stations, took away boxes. During the battle, 13 people were detained, had a Cossack certificate, the 14th was a father from the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate with weapons in his hands. The detainees were transferred to Kharkiv to the SBU Office. The first operation took place near the Aidar River, the battalion was named after her.
    13 — 14 June 2014. In a few weeks, in close cooperation with the operational command North, "Sector A", the battalion's first operation, the liberation of the city of Shchastia, was prepared. If the scouts went out daily before the operation, the day before the operation, Aidar's intelligence reported to the OK every three hours. Therefore, the operation went perfectly well - in one night the city was liberated, two bridges - through the bypass canal and through the Seversky Donets - were cleared. In the city of Shchastia there is not a single destroyed house, only in the places where the enemy is deployed on the outskirts.
    During the night, we made a march for 15 km, and went to the rear of the enemy, where we were able to destroy the charge control wires on the bridge. During the liberation of Shchastya, the battalion conducted an operation without losses, only four soldiers were wounded.
    During the ATO, Aidar participated in more than 12 combat operations. The battalion established itself as attack aircraft, and therefore became the 24th separate assault battalion. It has never been the case that the order of the high command of the battalion was not fulfilled.
    All operations were successful, the guys joked that we were an "assault and nursery" battalion, because we had to take care of "younger", less shelled units.
    They took Red Yar, where they were allowed to dig in the 30th Brigade, then they freed two more of us points by night. And in the dawn of the "Aydarovites" reported that the 30th Brigade left its positions and withdrew. I had to take the same positions again, where the 12th Kyiv Territorial Defense Battalion had already left. Then the Aydar residents stood with them for the night, the people of Kyiv got used to shelling, and in the future held their positions.
    Where there were heavy fighting, the Aidar asked to leave the platoon near other units for moral support.
    By AdministratorFeb 13, 2015