|24th Separate Assault Battalion|
(March 2015 – present)
24th Territorial Defence Battalion "Aidar"
(2014 – March 2015)
|Ukrainian: 24-й окремий штурмовий батальйон «Айдар»|
|Allegiance||Ministry of Defense|
|Branch||Ukrainian Ground Forces|
|Part of||53rd Mechanized Brigade.|
This article needs to be updated.(April 2022)
24th Separate Assault Battalion "Aidar", also known as the Aidar Battalion, is an assault battalion of the Ukrainian Ground Forces.
The unit took part in the war in Eastern Ukraine and had roughly 300-400 members in 2014. It was named after the Aidar River in the Luhansk region where it was initially deployed. In 2014, Amnesty International reported that members of the Aidar Battalion had committed war crimes during the war in Donbas. It was disbanded in 2015 and reconstituted as the 24th Separate Assault Battalion of the Ukrainian Army, before being absorbed into the 10th Mountain Assault Brigade in 2016. As of October 2018 the battalion lost 130 soldiers killed in action. The Battalion's founder and former commander is Sergei Melnychuk.
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Created in May 2014, Aidar was the first Territorial Defense Battalion of Ukraine - a volunteer military detachment subordinate to the Ministry of Defence.
In the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election, former Aidar commander Serhiy Melnychuk became a member of the Verkhovna Rada representing the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko; he ranked third on the party's election list. The commander of Aidar's second company, Ihor Lapin, was an MP for People's Front after winning a constituency seat in Lutsk in the same election. Neither was reelected in the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election (Melnychuk failed to win a seat in an electoral district in Novomoskovsk with 0.31% of the votes and Lapin was not high enough on the election list (placed 49th) of European Solidarity to get elected).
On 8 August 2014 Ukraine's Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey stated that the battalion would be reorganised, would receive better equipment and would see more combat missions. Melnychuk has described that order as "criminal", but has admitted that most of Aidar's soldiers had demobilized or come under official control by 2015.
The battalion came to spotlight after several dozen of its members were killed in an ambush south of Shchastia after the announcement of the ceasefire on 6 September 2014.
Late January and early February 2015 the battalion picketed several government buildings, which escalated into clashes.
Aidar was formally disbanded on 2 March 2015 "to prevent illegal actions of some representatives of volunteer units" (according to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces). After a "careful selection of soldiers", it was then reorganized as the 24th Separate Assault Battalion of the Ukrainian Army. Lieutenant Colonel Yevhen Ptashnik was appointed as commander of the battalion. The 24th Separate Assault Battalion was made part of the 10th Mountain Assault Brigade in January 2016. Later it became a part of the 53rd Mechanized Brigade.
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Ministry of Defence (Ukraine)
2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election
People's Front (Ukraine)
2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election
List of Ministers of Defense (Ukraine)
General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces
53rd Mechanized Brigade (Ukraine)
Members and structure
The Aidar Battalion consisted of volunteers from Lviv, Chernihiv, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Crimea, Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Donetsk regions. It included a member of the Luhansk Oblast's legislature, a former mayor of Oleksandrivsk, and self-defense activists from the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv. In June 2014, it had around 400 members.
The battalion had several subdivisions:
- Kholodnyi Yar
- Company "West"
- Afgan company
- Volyn company
- Golden company
- Gregory Makles Company
The Battalion has gained notoriety due to its members' far-right views. Two Swedish neo-Nazis from the Svenskarnas parti joined Aidar in 2013 and 2014 and made headlines in the Swedish and German media, since one of the Nazis was running for a local council in elections, and the same media heavily criticized the Nazi mercenaries. According to Huseyn Aliyev, a political scientist at the University of Glasgow, by 2015 the battalion's radical right-wing ideology had "toned down", and the ideology of it along with other volunteer battalions in Ukraine was best described as "nationalist-patriotic".
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Allegations of human rights violations and war crimes
In July 2014, Russia began a criminal investigation of Aidar's commander, Serhiy Melnychuk, for "organizing the killing of civilians". Its volunteer pilot, Nadiya Savchenko, was captured by pro-Russian separatists near Luhansk, transported to Russia and charged with killing two Russian journalists.
On 8 September 2014 Amnesty International claimed that the battalion had committed war crimes, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.
On 24 December 2014, Amnesty International reported that the unit was blocking humanitarian aid from Ukraine reaching the population of the separatist-controlled areas. Over half the population in these areas depended on food aid. According to Amnesty International, the Aidar, Donbas and Dnipro-1 battalions said they are blocking the aid because they "believe food and clothing are ending up in the wrong hands and may be sold instead of being given as humanitarian aid". Denis Krivosheev, acting Director of Europe and Central Asia for Amnesty International, stated that starving civilians as a method of warfare is a war crime.
In April 2015, the Ukrainian government-appointed Governor of Luhansk Hennadiy Moskal stated that Aidar battalion was "terrorizing the region" and asked Ukrainian Defense Ministry to rein in its members after a series of thefts, including ambulances and the takeover of a bread factory.
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Veterans of the Battalion on the March of Defenders. Independence Day, Kyiv, 24 July 2019
Source: "Aidar Battalion", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 16th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aidar_Battalion.
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80th Air Assault Brigade (Ukraine)
Internet Party of Ukraine
Luhansk power station
Radical Party of Oleh Liashko
National Guard of Ukraine
Luhansk People's Republic
Ukrainian territorial defence battalions
Humanitarian situation during the war in Donbas
Battle of Debaltseve
10th Assault Brigade (Ukraine)
- ^ a b c d e "Айдар переформировали в отдельный армейский батальон". korrespondent.net.
- ^ "A Guide to Ukraine's Fighting Forces". Kyiv Post. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- ^ a b Ivan Dediukh killed by landmine explosion near Starohnativka, Donetsk Obl on June 27, Euromaidan Press via Twitter (28 June 2020)
- ^ "The women fighting on the frontline in Ukraine". the Guardian. 5 March 2015.
- ^ Sharkov, Damien (10 September 2014). "Ukrainian Nationalist Volunteers Committing 'ISIS-Style' War Crimes". Newsweek.
- ^ Net, Amnesty International. "Ukraine: Abuses and war crimes by the Aidar Volunteer Battalion in the north Luhansk region research briefing" (PDF). Amnesty English. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
- ^ Книга пам'яті полеглих за Україну [Book of Remembrance of the fallen for Ukraine]. www.memorybook.org.ua (in Ukrainian).
- ^ "Ukraine's volunteer battalions: The new model army". Ukrinform. 2014. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014.
- ^ "Aidar commander: Terrorists know everything". Ukrinform. 24 June 2014.
- ^ "Ukraine Votes On Oct. 26 To Elect New Parliament". Kyiv Post. 24 October 2014.
- ^ "Poroshenko Bloc to have greatest number of seats in parliament". Ukrainian Television and Radio. 8 November 2014. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014.
- "People's Front 0.33% ahead of Poroshenko Bloc with all ballots counted in Ukraine elections - CEC". Interfax-Ukraine. 8 November 2014. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014.
- "Poroshenko Bloc to get 132 seats in parliament - CEC". Interfax-Ukraine. 8 November 2014.
- ^ Повний список новообраних народних депутатів [Complete list of newly elected People's Deputies] (in Ukrainian). Televiziyna Sluzhba Novyn. 12 November 2014.
- ^ "Data on vote counting at precincts within single-mandate districts". Central Election Commission of Ukraine. 26 October 2014. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014.
- Одномандатный избирательный округ № 22 [Candidates and winner for the seat in constituency 22 in the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election] (in Ukrainian). RBK Ukraine. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014.
- ^ "Електоральна пам'ять". ukr.vote.
- ^ "Електоральна пам'ять". ukr.vote.
- ^ Гелетей хоче зробити з "Айдара" регулярний спецпідрозділ [Heletey wants to turn Aidar into a regular special unit]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 8 August 2014.
- ^ Ukraine Struggles to Control Volunteer Fighter Squads, Reuters through Moscow Times (29 July 2015)
- ^ a b "DOCUMENT - UKRAINE: ABUSES AND WAR CRIMES BY THE AIDAR VOLUNTEER BATTALION IN THE NORTH LUHANSK REGION" (Press release). Amnesty International. 8 September 2014.
- ^ In Ukraine, Rogue Elements Defy Kiev and Separatists Alike, Stratfor (18 April 2015)
- ^ "10 гірсько-штурмова бригада поповниться легендарним підрозділом, "Айдар" базуватиметься у Коломиї" [10th Mountain Brigade will include the legendary assault unit Aidar based in Kolomyia]. 10brygada.com.ua (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- ^ Sukhov, Oleg (15 December 2014). "Diverse Aidar fighters united by goal of defending Ukraine". Kyiv Post.
- ^ Zinevych, Solomiya (24 June 2014). "Aydar Batallion[sic] ready to fight even as unit's future remains unclear". Kyiv Post.
- ^ "Svenskarna som strider i Ukraina". www.expressen.se.
- ^ "Svenskar strider med Ukrainas högerextremister – Arbetet".
- ^ Björndahl, Anna (August 2014). "Nazist från Karlskoga deltog i kriget i Ukraina - P4 Värmland". Sveriges Radio.
- ^ Aliyev, Huseyn (16 July 2020). "Pro-government Anti-government Armed Groups? Toward Theorizing Pro-government "Government Challengers"". Terrorism and Political Violence. 34 (7): 1369–1385. doi:10.1080/09546553.2020.1785877. ISSN 0954-6553. S2CID 225626866.
- ^ "Moscow Court Sanctions Arrest of Ukraine Tycoon Governor Kolomoisky". The Moscow Times. 2 July 2014.
- ^ "Ukraine conflict: Russia charges pilot over deaths". BBC News. 9 July 2014.
- ^ "Russia Charges Ukrainian Pilot Savchenko Over Journalists' Deaths". NBC News. 9 July 2014.
- ^ Amnesty International, Eastern Ukraine: Humanitarian disaster looms as food aid blocked, 24 December 2014.
- ^ "Eastern Ukraine: Humanitarian disaster looms as food aid blocked". amnesty.org.
- ^ "Governor of Luhansk region accuses Aidar of terrorizing the region". KyivPost. April 2015.
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