Serbian mercenaries fighting in eastern Ukraine

Serbian fighters fight side by side with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. According to Belgrade, they’re not the only ones active in Ukraine, either.

 An unruly beard, army fatigues and an automatic weapon are part of Bratislav Zivkovic’s image. The 39-year-old is the leader of the Serb Chetnik militia in eastern Ukraine. He was in Crimea in March where he “defended the Russian brethren.”
Now Zivkovic and his comrades are again making headlines. According to the pro-Russian separatist “People’s Militia” in the self-proclaimed region of “New Russia” in eastern Ukraine, Serb volunteers fended off an offensive by the Ukrainian army near Luhansk.
The separatists declared that two tanks – including the crew – and other military equipment were destroyed in the fight.

Participants in Crimea
The media has reported that Russian, Chechen and Cossack mercenaries are supporting the pro-Russian fighters in Ukraine. Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency wrote that even two “anti-fascist” Spanish and one Czech volunteer showed up.

The Chetnik unit in Ukraine has 46 members, including Russians and a Bulgarian, according to Zoran Andrejic, deputy president of the Serbian Chetnik movement. Serbian guerillas fought in WWII under the name Chetniks, as did Serbian paramilitary troops in the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s.
Andrejic claims that his comrades flew to Moscow in mid-July, from where they supplied Luhansk with humanitarian aid.

“At the Ukrainian border, our men received weapons to protect the convoy,” he told DW. “At Luhansk airport, the entire convoy came under massive artillery fire and three of our comrades were injured.”
As a result, they decided to create the “New Russian People’s Militia.” The Chetniks never received money for their operation, Andrejic said, adding they also never demanded payment.
The Chetniks in Luhansk are battle tested, with many having fought in the bloody Yugoslav Wars. “We didn’t send inexperienced boys to Ukraine,” Andrejic said.

He added that many Russian and Cossack volunteers “defended Serbian lands” in the past. The former military leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Girkin, is said to have fought for the Serbs in the Bosnia War, where he met his present Chetnik comrades. Better known by his nom de guerre “Strelkov,” Girkin quit his post on Thursday./DW/
Serbian mercenaries fighting in eastern Ukraine Serbian mercenaries fighting in eastern Ukraine Monday, August 18, 2014 Rating: 5
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