'There's nothing wrong that volunteer makes money from war'

Author : Olesia Batsman

Respondent : Serhiy Ilnytsky

Source :

The Right Sector is fighting in Donbas since 2014. But in 2015 the organization split, the Ukrainian Volunteer Army was formed, headed by Dmytro Yarosh. Why did this happen, what caused a split between the former leaders, and what Yarosh intends to do?
22:37, 21 August 2017

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- How did you get into the ranks of the Right Sector organization and became a person close to Dmytro Yarosh?

- I'm a military specialist, so I just could not stay away from the tragic events. Moreover, my son and his friends in the summer of 2014 also went to the Donbas conflict zone. Coming to Yarosh, I offered him my services. I assigned people responsible for logistical support, food security. The daily registration of personnel with the writing of military notes was introduced. Then there was the guard duty service and so on.

- What preceded the split in the Right Sector?

- There were many factors. All those who supported Dmytro Yarosh had a firm position that the primary task is to defeat the enemy and liberate the occupied territories. The weapon should remain where it is needed, on the front line, and not as in the case of Mukachevo.

Those who stayed in organization have their own opinion. They believe that the primary task is to fight against the regime of internal occupation, with the existing power, which, in our opinion, will weaken our positions at the front.

- How did ordinary soldiers and commanders of volunteer units assess all these events?

- Everyone then made his choice; no one was forced to do this. So, for example, 1 assault company of the 5th battalion withdrew from the battalion. According to the acts of transfer, they received their property and weapons and left the territory of the battalion.

- Many people note that the split in the Right Sector led to a weakening of the nationalist positions

- I do not think so. Everyone chose his own way. The goal remains - the struggle against the occupier. But we now have an iron discipline. We have established a number of rules. Who does not fulfill them, we say goodbye to those. Volunteer is not one who voluntarily comes and says: "I want to do or I wouldn’t do", but the one who voluntarily agreed to comply with the established rules and the corresponding orders.

We give a lot of attention to combat training. Launched Training Center, where volunteers are trained regarding their combat coordination. Due to this we have a very low percentage of losses.

- A big problem at the front is alcoholism. How do you cope with this problem?

- We have established very strict rules. Whoever does not comply not belong in volunteer unit. We are volunteers. How could we come to the front and drink alcohol, and then die because of it? Although, really, there were cases of drinking alcohol. Such people were sent home.

- What about information on the receipt of salaries by your soldiers?

- That’s true. But we call it material assistance. Our leadership and related services are constantly working to get some money for those who are fighting. Thanks to different people, entrepreneurs, we have the opportunity to help them financially. There are a number of politicians in Ukraine who are not indifferent to the fate of the volunteer soldiers. Therefore, every person who signed our internal contract can receive financial assistance. If there is no such possibility, then, accordingly, nothing is received.

- Many people, especially former colleagues from, tell you that you are not volunteers. Like, the latter are fighting for free, they do not need money.

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- This is absurd. What's wrong with volunteer sending money to his family? We have those who are more than three years in the war. Where should they take the money? There are those who come for a short time, for them such help is not needed.

- How the cooperation with Ukraine’s Armed Forces is going on? Who agrees on combat positions for the units?

- Dmytro Yarosh, adviser to the Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine on cooperation with volunteer formations. There are arrangements, if the units of the Armed Forces need strengthening, then we provide it. Plus, our medical unit "Hospitaller" is constantly involved. During its creation they provided assistance and evacuated about 2500 people.

All our actions are coordinated with the management of the Armed Forces and are conducted in cooperation with them. In case of danger for our fighters, we make a decision on our own, because the life of our guys is our first priority.

- The situation in your volunteer battalion has stabilized. Does it attract new volunteers?

- Yes. We created a new training center, where the guys without military experience have the opportunity to get it. There are even some numbers. Donetsk and Dnipro region gave us recently about a hundred fighters. People feel that they are taken care of, financially and socially, so they willingly join our ranks. Also we are engaged in military-patriotic education of youth. A children's summer camp is organized for children from 14 to 18 years old, where they receive the title "Young Volunteer". Correctly educated youth in the spirit of patriotism is the guarantee of a healthy country.

- What happens to the guys who already left your ranks? Will they get any help from you in the future?

- In each region staffs and coordinators are appointed, to which our volunteers can apply if necessary. Our social department conducts the affairs of all fighters.

In 17 regions at the level of the regional administration, volunteers are recognized as participants of the Donbas conflict. There, volunteers receive appropriate certificates and enjoy benefits. But I am sure that we will be able to achieve recognition at the level of Parliament. Everything needs time!

- A quarter of a million Ukrainians received the status of a combatant. Whereas there are less real heroes. What can you say about this?

- I know that people who saw the war only on TV were given the status of combatant. People who were located on the third, second line of defense. This number is constantly increasing. And in the future this ridiculous law will need to be changed. After all, it's impossible to compare an official who ordered a business trip to Kramatorsk to get benefits, and a soldier who was in the frontline. It's not fair.

- How many members of volunteer battalion are currently at war?

- About half a thousand people. It is no longer worth to keep them there. This is a huge burden on the material and technical part. Experience has shown that we are moving in the right direction. And this number corresponds to our capabilities.

- In your opinion, as a colonel in retirement and one of the commanders, is it possible to liberate Donbas with power?

- Of course. The level of the army makes it possible to conduct a military operation and liberate the occupied territories. But it all goes to the fact that no one knows how Moscow will behave in the event of an offensive by Ukrainian troops. After all, we all know that the huge forces of Russians, which at times exceed the size of our Armed Forces, are in Belarus and at the borders of the Donetsk region. Here you need to work in the political direction. Putin does not need Donbas in this form. It is looted and defeated. He has a lot of such territories. Donetsk and Luhansk regions are necessary for him for political pressure on Europe, the world. Therefore, political negotiations are also of great importance.

- What are the nearest plans of Dmytro Yarosh?

- More recently, a large meeting took place on the island of Khortytsa, where he once again confirmed that we will take part in elections of all levels, including presidential ones.

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