June 11, 2015
June 12, 2015
Translated from German by Tom Winter
A surprising melange is coming into view at the Ukraine front: Mercenaries from the Czech Republic and Slovakia have shifted over to the Donbass to fight against NATO. Their home countries are powerless: the rebels apparently pay better.
The Slovakians and Czechs that are currently fighting in eastern Ukraine with the volunteer militias against the Ukrainian Army intend to put together their own unit that would be part of the so-called International Brigade of the 15th Army.
“The Brigade has a lot of Czechs and Slovaks. They get around 350 Euros a month; they live in barracks and are equipped with tanks and armored personnel carriers,” reports the Slovakian news portal aktuality.sk.
The news portal conducted an interview Monday with a Slovak mercenary soldier, who says that the most prominent Slovak fighter in Ukraine was Martin “Sojka” Keprta, but that he is now hospitalized with injuries from the fighting.
So far as equipment is concerned, the Slovakian source says there are old Mosin-Nagant repeating rifles from Soviet times, plus Kalashnikovs of two different calibers, 5.45, and 7.62 mm, and anti-tank weapons, including PTURs,** grenade launcher RPGs, and all the other weapons that they have captured.
When asked about the involvement of Russian officers or commanders in the Eastern Ukraine conflict, the man says: “In our unit there is no Russian commander. Russia helps us politically and morally. They also provide us with humanitarian aid, which is more than necessary. The Russian military doesn’t have to be here on the spot: Every day the admissions committee in Donbass registers five to twenty people, who are signed in and are going to serve. We have, in contrast to the opposite side, of course, a shortage of motorized transport. “
Then the Slovak mercenary shares the political motivation behind his service in eastern Ukraine. The mercenary, literally: “We see the EU as a dictatorship and NATO as an aggressive pact. This is our way of fighting the EU and NATO.”
On the same day, the Slovak government released an opinion on the investigative report of aktuality.sk. The Slovak newspaper TERAZ Slovensko quoted the Foreign Ministry in Bratislava: “Such adventurers act alone and actively contribute to the destabilization of Ukraine and the undermining of diplomatic efforts. They hurt the foreign policy interests of the Slovak Republic.
“The government keeps an open and clear distance from these adventurers. The priority of the foreign policy of Slovakia remains the stabilization of the situation in Ukraine in order to achieve a peaceful solution to the crisis through diplomatic negotiations. We support the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and condemn all attempts to escalate the conflict. ”
The spokesman for the Slovak Interior Ministry, Petar Lazarov, on the other hand wanted weigh in “for security and tactical reasons:”
“Slovaks who are fighting for a foreign military or their units without authorization from the president face a prison sentence of two to eight years.”
In eastern Ukraine there are numerous mercenaries from Europe. They are fighting against one side or the other. There are also mercenaries of the US company Academi, formerly Blackwater, among them.
**Mosin-Nagant is a five-shot, bolt action rifle first developed in 1891, corresponding to an American Winchester; the PTUR (“bassoon”) is a wire-guided rocket launched from a tripod-mounted tube. Big enough to require a three-man team.]
Translator’s note: There are European politicians pushing for independence from NATO, Wagenknecht in Germany, and Fillon in France, for instance. They won’t go to jail. Mercenaries from Academi won’t go to jail either. As for the recruiting, I have seen a website where one can apply to join the fighters for Donbass. If I were 21 instead of 71…!