By Anastasia Petrova
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Aidar Battalion militants are storming the Ministry of
Defense of Ukraine.
Aidar Battalion militants have organized a meeting at the
Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. It was caused by the recent statements by the
former commander Sergey Melnichuk that the unit will be disbanded. The MOD
hurriedly denied it, but the assembled militants are not about to disperse.
The Aidar militants closed off the entrance to the MOD
building. They assembled at the MOD building to express their displeasure at
the news that the unit is to be disbanded. The first to make this announcement
was its first commander, and currently a Rada Deputy, Sergey Melnichuk.
“The battalion was disbanded three days ago. According to
documentation it no longer exists.
However, both the minister of defense and the chief of
general staff are saying that they have given no such order. But the front-line
HQ already received papers stating that no such unit exists, and a stamp for a
new formation. We will be picketing the MOD so that the battalion continues to
exist and defend Ukraine’s integrity,”
Melnichuk was cited as saying by the
The promise to come out with a picket was fulfilled already
the next day. Camouflaged men demanded that the Minister of Defense Poltorak
come out and meet them. Several hours later the assembled militants were met by
the Deputy Minister of Defense Petr Mekhed. He explained the demonstrators that
the rumors concerning the unit’s dissolution were greatly exaggerated Moreover,
Mekhed said that Poltorak can’t meet with the militants because he went to a
Cabinet of Minister meeting.
According to Mekhed, the unit is being reorganized due to
the fact that its leadership has no access to the battalion stamp. Ukrainian
Ministry of Defense has information that it was lost. Due to the loss many of
the unit’s fighters were not paid.
“The changes will concern only the re-registration of the
military unit number and stamp replacement. This is being done in order to
prevent stamp misuse, as well as the misuse of documents that were lost earlier
and could become the subject of machinations,” said the MOD press center.
The MOD also noted that the battalion will be reinforced.
Regardless of such statements, the militants assembled at
the MOD building is not about to disperse. Melnichuk, responding to Mekhed,
claimed that the stamp was never lost, and that at the moment it is located in
the town of Schastye.
After the exchange of opinions the deputy minister asked the
demonstrators to disperse and tried to go back into the building. However, his
way was blocked by several militants. An exchange of words ensued. Ultimately
the deputy minister managed to take refuge in the building, while the Aidar
militants broke the gate into the MOD building.
Once Mekhed fled, the Aidar militants blocked entry into the
MOD. True, after a while they declared the meeting over. According to
Melnichuk, they plan to return on Monday and demand a meeting with Poltorak.
Ukrainian media report that there are many reasons for Aidar
militants’ displeasure. The appointment of the new battalion commander Valentin
Lykholit turned into a legal proceeding. According to one version of events,
Melnichuk refused to transfer the battalion stamp to Lykholit. In response the
battalion was given a new number and its leadership was issued new stamps.
Translator’s Note: What’s at stake is whether the Ukrainian
MOD controls the volunteer battalions. At the very least MOD should have the
authority to decide who commands these units. However, it would seem the
original battalion commander has other ideas and wants to retain control over
the battalion even as he serves as a Rada Deputy. Melnichuk is not stupid, he
knows which way the wind is blowing, and is perfectly aware of the value of
several hundred armed militants in a confrontation on the streets of Kiev. That
the MOD actually seems afraid of these militants to the point of allowing them
commit such acts of gross insubordination (and in a time of “war”, no less)
with impunity suggests they know which way the wind is blowing too. As a side note, Aidar’s neo-Nazi tendencies were well known. One of its militants, “Vita Zaverukha” was featured earlier on the pages of this blog to highlight her pro-Nazi and pro-genocide views.