Donbas Battalion (Ukraine)

Country: Ukraine
Details of Formation: The formation of the group in April 2014 is based on the initiative of Semen Semenchenko to gather a group of fighters to defend themselves.
Details of Termination: In May 2014 the group became integrated into the National Guard when it formed a special-purpose battalion belonging to this official force.
Purpose: Initially, the group was established as a self-defence measure by locals in Donetsk because of a perceived lack of efforts by the government to mobilise such a group itself. It fought pro-Russian separatists and was supposed to stabilize the region.
Organisation: The connection to the government is not entirely clear, with the group’s status being uncertain and the PGM remaining outside the control of an official institution. The government did not provide any material or financial support to the group, with equipment or food originating exclusively from private donations. The leader of the group was Semen Semenchenko.
Weapons and Training: Some members were armed with automatic rifles and pistols, but there is no indication that these were provided by the government. There were plans by the government to equip the group with heavy weapons after its integration into the National Guard. The group had a training camp, however, this was managed without government involvement.
Size: The group’s membership appears to have been relatively constant, from 100 members at formation in April 2014 to another estimate of 120 in June 2014.
Reason for Membership: Patriotism is frequently mentioned as a precondition for membership, as well as the wish to defend or take back one’s own region. This is illustrated by the fact that 75 percent of members were reportedly from the Donbass region, i.e. the group had a strong local membership base. The absence of any kind of payment suggests that these incentives were substantial enough to serve as motivations to join the group.
Treatment of Civilians: Like several other battalions, the group has been accused of preventing the provision of humanitarian aid to people who were heavily dependent on it. The disruption of food aid had particularly severe consequences for civilians in the region.
Other Information: Recruitment was conducted via Facebook and word of mouth. According to one source, some Russians also fought in the group. An alternative spelling is Donbass battalion.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.

Wikipedia. “Donbas Battalion.“