|Colors||Black, blue, red, and white|
|Timur Kurilkin (Bajkot)|
|Mikhail 'Givi' Tolstykh †|
The Somalia Battalion (Russian: Батальон «Сомали») is a separatist military unit of the Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republic in Ukraine, which has been fighting against the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donbas war and the 2022 Russian invasion. The battalion's full name is 1st Separate Tank Battalion Somalia (previously 1st Separate Battalion Tactical Group Somalia).
The unit is permanently stationed in Donetsk and Makiivka. Its current commander is Timur Kurilkin.
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The Somalia Battalion was formed in 2014 and participated in the Donbas war. The origin of its name is unconfirmed, it could be due to the fact that when its members lined up for the first time, they were dressed in motley clothing and thus looked not like a combat force, but Somali pirates. Or it could be from Givi's claim; "they are as fearless as Somali pirates".
It was originally a special task force under the Ministry of Defense of the Donetsk People's Republic, a self-proclaimed breakaway state in eastern Ukraine. In 2015 the breakaway states Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk Peoples Republic, and all their military units, were designated as terrorist organisations by the Supreme Court of Ukraine.
In February 2017, the unit's commander, Mikhail Tolstykh ('Givi'), was assassinated in his office with a RPO-A Shmel rocket launcher. It is alleged he was killed by his own side because he knew who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, or that he was killed by Ukrainian forces.
The battalion took part in the Siege of Mariupol alongside Russian forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. In 2022, while being decorated by the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, Senior Lieutenant of the Somalia Battalion Roman Vorobyov was shown wearing a Totenkopf (used by the 3rd SS Panzer Division and the SS-Totenkopfverbände) and a valknut on his arm patch; both symbols are associated with neo-Nazism. The part of the video showing Vorobyov was later deleted when it was posted on Pushilin's website.
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The battalion has T-64 and T-72 tanks, BMP-1, BTR-70, MT-LB and BRDM-2 armoured fighting vehicles as well as supporting artillery, mortars and transport vehicles.
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Source: "Somalia Battalion", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 16th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somalia_Battalion.
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Donetsk People's Republic
Russian people's militias in Ukraine
New Russia Party
Russian Orthodox Army
Timeline of the war in Donbas (2022)
Battle of Avdiivka (2022–2023)
- ^ ХАНАРИН, Никита МАКАРЕНКОВ | Павел (2022-04-03). "Донбасскому комбату "Сомали" Тимуру Курилкину присвоили звание Героя ДНР и передали Орден Мужества от Путина". donetsk.kp.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 2022-04-04.
- ^ Matveeva, Anna (2016). "No Moscow stooges: Identity polarization and guerrilla movements in Donbass". Southeast European and Black Sea Studies. 16: 25–50. doi:10.1080/14683857.2016.1148415. S2CID 147889215.
- ^ Kim, Lucian (2014-11-04). "The Battle of Ilovaisk: Details of a Massacre Inside Rebel-Held Eastern Ukraine". Newsweek. Retrieved 2022-11-23.
- ^ a b Šmíd, Tomáš & Šmídová, Alexandra. (2021). Anti-government Non-state Armed Actors in the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Czech Journal of International Relations, Volume 56, Issue 2. pp.45-46.
- ^ "Про Заяву Верховної Ради України "Про визнання Україною юрисдикції Міжнародного кримінального суду щодо скоєння злочинів проти людяності та воєнних злочинів вищими посадовими особами Російської Федерації та керівниками терористичних організацій "ДНР" та "ЛНР", які призвели до особливо тяжких наслідків та масового вбивства українських громадян"]". Verkhovna Rada (in Ukrainian).
- ^ "Постанова Верховного Суду щодо визнання діяльності терористичною". Supreme Court of Ukraine (in Ukrainian).
- ^ "Донбасскому комбату "Сомали" Тимуру Курилкину присвоили звание Героя ДНР и передали Орден Мужества от Путина". 3 April 2022.
- ^ a b "Pro-Russian Fighter With Nazi Patches Gets Medal for Killing 'Nazis'". Newsweek. 5 April 2022.
- ^ "Totenkopf". Anti-Defamation League.
- ^ "A soldier with neo-Nazi symbols on his arm was given a medal by a Russia-backed separatist republic for killing Ukrainian 'nationalists'". Business Insider. 6 April 2022.
The head of the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic in Ukraine has been seen in a video awarding a medal to a fighter ... Published on April 3 through the Russia-backed republic's website,[...] the video posted on Pushilin's official website did not show Vorobyov receiving his medal
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- CS1 Russian-language sources (ru)
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- Military of the Donetsk People's Republic
- Paramilitary organizations based in Ukraine
- Pro-Russian militant groups
- Separatist forces of the war in Donbas
- Short description matches Wikidata
- Tank units and formations
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