Meeting the Donbas Battalion: Russian Hunting Separatists in Eastern Ukraine: 1 day ago   11:55

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With the Ukrainian army struggling to contain the grab for power by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in the Donetsk Oblast, armed pro-Ukrainian militias have been quietly taking matters into their own hands.

One of these groups, the Donbas Battalion, has been attacking DPR checkpoints and occupied buildings. After two weeks of careful negotiations they finally agreed for VICE News to visit their clandestine base in what used to be a children's summer camp in the neighboring Dnipropetrovsk region. They were cautious about revealing their location as their last HQ was discovered and attacked by pro-Russia forces, forcing them to find an alternative.

We watched them train and interviewed their leader, Semyan, before being invited on an operation the following day. In the town of Velyka Novosilka, the Donbas Battalion tore down the DPR flag and replaced it with Ukraine's colors, reinstalled the pro-Ukrainian administrator, and lectured the local police on loyalty and duty — all at gunpoint. We then left Velyka Novosilka quickly, as there were reports of armed pro-Russia groups heading our way.

The Ukrainian army's "anti-terror" operation has so far failed to dislodge separatists from their strongholds in Sloviansk and Donetsk. But the flexibility of the Donbas Battalion, and other groups like it, could help turn the tide in Kiev's favor. Equally, they could help further destabilize an already volatile region. Yet with the Ukrainian presidential elections taking place on May 25, it's likely that Semyan and his men will be busy in the days ahead — and we'll soon find out.

Watch all of VICE News' coverage of the conflict in Ukraine here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw613M86o5o7DfgzuUCd_PVwbOCDO472B

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Comments 5309 Comments

cibetka76
It so sad west managed to finance and organize anti democratic armed coup in Ukraine and start this war turning slavic people against each others.
Srg720
Bunch of worthless Ukrainian cocksuckers running around pretending they're soldiers. Turchinov and poroshenko made mega $$$ off these idiots lol
mokshanskoe boloto
Respect to batalion Dobas. Russian idiots should be taken back into kremlin zoo
mokshanskoe boloto
Respect to batalion Dobas. Russian idiots should be taken back into kremlin zoo
mokshanskoe boloto
Respect to batalion Dobas. Russian idiots should be taken back into kremlin zoo
mokshanskoe boloto
Respect to batalion Dobas. Russian idiots should be taken back into kremlin zoo
mokshanskoe boloto
Respect to batalion Dobas. Russian idiots should be taken back into kremlin zoo
mokshanskoe boloto
Respect to batalion Dobas. Russian idiots should be taken back into kremlin zoo
arkan kamarada
Rats nazis.. Ijos de puta.. Cobardes.... Slava Donbass.. Viva Rusia.. Urraaa a.. Urraaa.. X Givi.. Arsny Pavlov mottorola y mártires... Forzá donestk..
vampirefiend
This guy looks like mcjuggernuggets!!!!!!
Михаил Мотросов
Трусливые собаки все в масках,а как за жопу возьмёшь так сразу ноют нас заставили или бегут за бугор и тяфкают какие они херои
Vasil Zahariev
5:48 lol
Wayne
Man dez idiots got ww1 rifles n bank managers as soldiers lmao wheres ashton dis gots 2 b a joke😂😂😂
Nolberto Cristobal
Stealing kill 1 we million of Ukrainian this people are traitor to the Ukrainian people wow pro Russian invaders
Nolberto Cristobal
La gente comenta rusia andas invading et ndo y quitantan ft. Ole territories a paices vecinos es hora que los ucranianos pollen por si paisley Russia sera destroida von putting in power miy prepotente el culiao
Сергей СПб
Псы вонючие, «освободители» хреновы. А хари свои тупые закрывают, чтобы местным жителям не показываться, ибо по факту это проплаченные каратели, прихлебатели хунты, совершившей вооруженный переворот.
Aaron Wright
5:48
Mike Sanchez
Soo is this similar too like the people trying too overthrow the power hungry govs president ect like a revolution?
Michael Mills
That’s the coolest thing I e ever seen!!! We need to do that here in America?!!! JUST GO FROM PILUCE STATION TO STATION BY THE MILLIONS ASKING WHO FORGOT THEEIR OATH TO TBE US CONSTITUTION?!!YOU ALL SEE WTF HAPPENS WHEN REAL PATRIOTS STAND UP FOR THEIR NATION?!!
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Hunting Separatists in Eastern Ukraine: Meeting the Donbas Battalion: Russian 1 day ago   11:46

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Although Pro-Russia separatists have been largely driven out of Donetsk and Luhansk, they still control significant parts of eastern Ukraine. In this dispatch, VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky goes hunting for separatists with Oleh Lyashko, a Ukrainian politician who placed third in the most recent presidential election. Ostrovsky embeds with Lyashko's personal security forces as they successfully track down Viktor Rybalko, a pro-Russia separatist who organized the referendum in Luhansk calling for independence and allegiance with Russia. What Lyashko does is technically illegal, but he believes that the police are not doing their job and has taken it upon himself to bring order back to eastern Ukraine.

Follow @simonostrovsky on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SimonOstrovsky

Watch all of VICE News' coverage of the conflict in Ukraine here: http://bit.ly/1j0tCKk

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