Ukrainian language: 24-й батальйон територіальної оборони «Айдар»
|Allegiance||Ministry of Defense|
|Type||Battalion of Territorial Defense (BTD)|
Aidar Battalion is a Territorial Defense Battalion of Ukraine detachment of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine that currently fights against separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine. It has roughly 400 members. Its commander is Serhiy Melnychuk.
The Aidar Battalion consists of volunteers from Lviv, Chernigiv, Lugansk, Charkiv, Krim, Kiev, Ivano Frankivsk and Donetsk regions. Many self-defense activists from the Maidan protests in Kiev also joined the Aidar Battalion. It also has several subdivisions:
- Kholodnyi Yar
- Company "West"
- Afgan company
- Volyn company
- Golden company
Aidar Battalion lost several dozens of fighters killed in an ambush south of Shchastya after the announcement of the ceasefire on 6 September 2014.
Human rights violations
In July 2014 its commander Serhiy Melnychuk became under criminal investigation in Russia for "organizing the killing of civilians". The volunteer pilot of the Battalion Nadiya Savchenko, being captured by pro-Russian separatists near Luhansk, was (later) arrested in Russia (it was unclear how she got there) and charged with killing two Russian journalists.
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observers reported in August that the Battalion was responsible for two abductions in the combat zone of the War in Donbass. On 8 September 2014 Amnesty International stated that the Battalion had committed war crimes, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.
In September, OSCE observers reported that Shchastya citizens claimed that intoxicated soldiers of the battalion ‘Aidar’ were shooting randomly in the nearby Luhansk power station.
- "A Guide to Ukraine's Fighting Forces". July 10, 2014. http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/a-guide-to-ukraines-fighting-forces-355556.html. Retrieved July 11, 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)
- (Ukrainian) Geletey wants to make "Aydar" regular special unit, Ukrayinska Pravda (8 August 2014)
- DOCUMENT - UKRAINE: ABUSES AND WAR CRIMES BY THE AIDAR VOLUNTEER BATTALION IN THE NORTH LUHANSK REGION Amnesty International, 8 September 2014
- "Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 21 August 2014". Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 22 August 2014. http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/122920. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- (Ukrainian) Amnesty International asks Yatsenyuk prystrunyty "Aydar", Ukrayinska Pravda (8 September 2014)
- Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 16 September 2014 OSCE, 17 September 2014
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