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Siberian volunteers head west to 'defend Russians' in war-torn eastern Ukraine

By Anna Liesowska
09 December 2014

'We can't stand by a watch this lawlessness', insist men travelling on five-day 3,900km journey to take up arms in Novorossiya.

The volunteers, aged between 23 and 50, say they are 'very well prepared' and ready for action even though many of them have no experience in conflict. Picture: TV2

A group of Siberian volunteers are making a five-day journey by bus to take up arms and join pro-Russian separatists in the conflict in Ukraine, claims a TV station.

The 31 men are a mixture of ordinary people such as drivers, builders and masseurs, and military veterans who have seen action in the likes of Afghanistan and Chechnya.  

With fighting still taking place in eastern parts of Ukraine, the group from Tomsk said they wanted to join in to help 'stop the lawlessness'.

The volunteers, aged between 23 and 50, say they are 'very well prepared' and ready for action even though many of them have no experience in conflict.

Some were waved off by their loved ones as they left on their 3,900km journey to an area known as Novorossiya in eastern Ukraine, but others did not tell their relatives where they are going.

The news comes as reports say as many as 200 other men from Siberia have already headed to Lugansk from Barnaul.

Fighting has been particularly fierce recently particularly at the nearby Donetsk airport, despite the latest ceasefire. 

Tomsk volunteers go to Ukraine


Tomsk volunteers go to Ukraine


Tomsk volunteers go to Ukraine

'Many went through Afghanistan and Chechnya. But there are also those that have only got military conscription experience.' Pictures: TV2

The West and Kiev claim Russian army and special forces have been involved helping separatists controlling a large swathe of eastern Ukraine, but this is strongly denied by the Kremlin.

The group of 31 Siberian volunteers, who have been assisted by the Russian Union of Afghan Veterans, were interviewed on TV2 as evidently departed for the crisis-hit region.

In the report, the TV news journalist states: 'The bus will take them straight to the border with the Luhansk region, which is going to take five days to get there. 

'In the bus they sit in groups: the intelligence, the attacking squad and the back front support. Somebody is being waved goodbye, as for others it looks like their relatives don't know where the head of the family is heading. 

'Up until now they worked as drivers, builders and masseurs. Many went through Afghanistan and Chechnya. But there are also those that have only got military conscription experience.'

The men are shown boarding the bus, with their military-style backpacks piled up on the ground.

Tomsk volunteers go to Ukraine


Tomsk volunteers go to Ukraine

'The fact is that is it not about the money, people are fighting there without money. We are not paid soldiers on the territory of an alien state.' Pictures: TV2

One man, whose face is blurred to hide his identity, says he served in Afghanistan in 1983-1984 and when asked how long he will head to Ukraine for he replies: 'No-one knows.' 

The unnamed fighter, who said he 'misses the adrenaline of warfare, stressed they are not being paid to fight in Ukraine and have volunteered to take part. 

He added: 'The fact is that is it not about the money, people are fighting there without money. We are not paid soldiers on the territory of an alien state. It is an officially recognised volunteer movement.'

Explaining why he is travelling from Siberia, another man said: 'It's offensive to us that some ***** dares to kill children and women. We cannot just look at this all. We've been training, we're ready. And believe me, we are very well prepared.

'We're not going there to make money, but to stop this lawlessness.'

According to the Tomsk Union of Afghanistan Veterans a number of volunteers have been travelling from different cities in Siberia. The men from Tomsk were only able to go as a result of money from sponsors.

Tomsk volunteers go to Ukraine


Tomsk volunteers go to Ukraine

A group of Siberian volunteers are making a five-day journey by bus to take up arms and join pro-Russian separatists in the conflict in Ukraine. Pictures: TV2

Chairman Mikhail Kolmakov said: 'It was the initiative of Union of Afghanistan Veterans, Union of Russian paratroopers and Combat Fraternity.

'Officially, on Red Square our leadership said that there is a need to help the people of Luhansk and Donetsk republics. From almost all Siberian regions volunteers were asked for. I do not hide that a lot of our guys went alone. Already some are returning.

'Therefore, it was decided to send a centralized group. There is a commander and a deputy commander of the squad.'

He added that anyone who contacted him simply looking to be paid to take up arms was turned away. He said: 'I will not hide the fact there were guys who came and asked for a fee. We said 'goodbye' to them immediately.'

Fighting has raged in eastern Ukraine since April after pro-Russian rebels seized control of official buildings.

Under a deal agreed last week, both sides in Lugansk agreed to a ceasefire with a withdrawal of heavy weapons from the frontline at the weekend.

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Comments (11)

It seems illogical that so many of those who find fault with Russian volunteers participating in the defense of Donbass, apparently have no criticism for the Kiev regime hiring paid mercenaries. Nor did these same opinionators express any conddemnation when westerners from over 80 countries flocked to Syria to fight against the Syrian government. Their objections obviously are based on nothing more than empty politics.

Godspeed to these brave young men as they help to defend against the fascist forces raining down cluster bombs, tochka missiles, and MLRS on schools, hospitals, factories and homes. SALUTE!
Nicholas Olsson, Las Vegas, NV-US
11/12/2014 21:20
2
3
Russians, Ukraine is not your Country it belongs to the Ukrainians .You can't argue against this basic fact. If the Ukraine majority want to join the EU than it should be so ,It is called Democracy , What is Democracy ? Well read your past history ,your forefathers fought Napoleon ,your grandfathers and fathers fought Germany in order to keep your homeland , Russia belongs to russians , Ukraine belongs to the ukrainians ,Even if you take Ukraine it will NEVER belong to you , So don't waste one life ,because what is not yours can never be yours , Patrick .
Patrick Travers , Perth West aust
11/12/2014 06:33
6
3
It is disgraceful that Russians are invading Ukraine. It's nothing but a land grab, just like they already did in Georgia and Moldova. The difference is that eastern Ukraine and Crimea have more value due to resources and strategical value, and there is more resistance. My girlfriend is a school teacher from Lugansk, but born in Russia, and she just wants the Russians to go back where they belong and allow the people of Lugansk to return to their normal lives. It is unfortunate that the American "president" (I use that term loosely since he is such a disgrace) is so weak, otherwise the Americans really would be involved, and the Russians would not be so bold as to invade a country that they (along with America and Britain) signed a treaty to defend against all foreign invaders (which is exactly what Russia is in this instance, a foreign invading force).
Jayme, USA
11/12/2014 01:22
4
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Wrong move this! Anyone with sense would see this is not a volunteer movement...but another group of Kremlin Rag-a-tag" terror group gunning for war & death.
Jaker, Dundalk
10/12/2014 22:20
4
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Damian I did not say American soldiers, I said foreign-mercenary from countries like Poland, Romania, Sweden, Norway I can easely go on, they are employed by private American military companies-they are fighting for money, of course there is also Kiev junta oligarch militia as well, its the truth you can accept it now or later it does not really matter. US does not want peace so there will not be any. I dont want to scare you or anything but things will get very bad before they get good, what is happening now is nothing comparing to what is to come, but dont depair(exercise faith instead of human reason) everytning will fall into its right place eventually, remember he that cant endure the bad times will not live to see the good times.
Lazar, Moscow
10/12/2014 03:33
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Tell them to stay at home & "Make Love, Not War"!
jojnjo, Dublin
09/12/2014 23:41
3
1
Peace not war
Damian, EU
09/12/2014 22:03
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0
Let us all hope the revival Minsk accords will see peace Too many have died on both sides Russian & Ukrainian
Damian, EU
09/12/2014 22:02
5
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Ukrainians look at Poland in the E.U. In Poland they see growth rates way in excess of their own in the corresponding time-frame that Poland has been a member of the E.U. So they want the same Lets hope that the Minsk accords see peace too many people have died on both sides
Damian, EU
09/12/2014 22:00
5
1
What Americans. where
The US organised everything - why haven't the US supplied lethal weapons to Ukraine
How many American troops have you seen?
How many have been captured?
Thing is & you cannot dispute the Ukrainians have decided to go west
Ukrainians look at Poland in the E.U.
In Poland they see growth rates way in excess of their own in the corresponding time-frame that Poland has been a member of the E.U.

Let's hope a revival of The Minsk Accords will see real peace for ALL Russians & Ukrainians
Too much blood has been spilt by BOTH sides
Damian , EU
09/12/2014 21:57
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Its good to see the volunteers going to Ukraine to protect civilians from foreign-mercenary-military-contractors fighters from American military companies that are fighting for Kiev junta.
Lazar, Moscow
09/12/2014 18:23
5
15
1

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