Ukraine's 'volunteer' battalions: Under Kiev's control?
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Ukraine is offering temporary self-rule to areas of its eastern Donbass region currently controlled by separatists. It’s part of a ceasefire deal, but one that was virtually imposed on Kiev after a heavy military defeat. Those who bore the worst losses in that defeat are not professional soldiers at all, but members of battalions of activists who spontaneously mobilised to defend the country.
Some of them are far-right nationalists, others are not. But all of them are convinced that Ukraine must fight to fend off Russian aggression. The government has tried to regularise them, but they still form a loosely organised and volatile fighting force: one that could yet turn against the Ukrainian government if it feels betrayed by the peace process.
Programme prepared by Elise Duffau and Patrick Lovett