The policemen will defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine and maintain public order in Luhansk region. Duration of their tour of duty is 45 days. The battalion is a totally volunteer formation, with nearly half of its soldiers having participated in the Euromaidan events.
The newly formed unit of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine started its service relatively recently. Soldiers in black uniform with chevrons, featuring the coat of arms of the legendary Chernihiv Cossack colonel Yakiv Lyzohub, were first seen by the citizens during the effort to keep public order on May 9. The main task of the battalion is protection of the territorial integrity of the state, neutralization of enemy saboteurs and keeping public order. Since the formation of the unit, the police leadership has planned to bring the number of volunteers to 200. It started with painstaking efforts of commanders to find people willing to serve. There were many. The first volunteers included military reservists, private guards, professionals of various industries, while all of them were patriots.
Commando Vitalii Zadorozhny of Kozelets is a professional guard, nicknamed Viking at the Euromaidan. The man is convinced that this unit has to renew confidence in the police. The formation is also having a difficult mission to fight saboteurs in eastern Ukraine.
Special attention should be given to the command of the battalion. Roman Feskiv, who until recently served as captain of the 14th sotnia of Euromaidan self-defense, has been appointed its commander. “Intensive training program for the newly created police unit lasted for almost a month,” the commander told us. “It is necessary to take into account the fact that quite a few of my soldiers have experience of service in the special operations forces. So, overall readiness of personnel is quite high. Moreover, nothing prevents us from continuing our training and enhancing our professionalism already in the process of performing our duties.”
The deputy commander of the Chernihiv battalion Vitalii Kostiuchenko was a professional soldier and is a full member of the National Union of Folk Art Masters, a patriot, who also fought for the freedom of our people in Kyiv’s Maidan.
“At the start of the formation of the battalion, I was offered the post of deputy commander, and immediately began to recruit volunteers,” the deputy commander said. “First to join the battalion were guys from the 14th and 38th sotnias of Euromaidan self-defense. Then our battalion was joined by the guys from Chernihiv self-defense, the Right Sector and regular citizens, who expressed a desire to defend the country.”
Among the volunteers, there are also former journalists. For example, Andrii Kuzhel long worked for Chernihiv online publications. Immediately before starting his service in the battalion, he worked for Channel 5 TV. The young man hesitated for some time whether to join the ranks of the police battalion, but later decided firmly for himself: the Fatherland needed defenders. Kuzhel filled in the questionnaire, underwent a medical examination, was sworn in and immediately went to the training ground. “In the ranks of the battalion, I found true friends,” Kuzhel said. “Before our departure to eastern Ukraine, I was fortunate to be a guest at the coolest wedding I have ever seen. My brother-in-arms Pavlo married and went to defend the Fatherland!”
Yevhen Rudenok of Chernihiv, like most of his fellow soldiers, was at the Euromaidan. “I decided to join the battalion for the same reasons as the rest of the guys: peace must be won with weapons, and police reform needs us. We are the first shoots of true people’s police,” Rudenok said. “In this difficult time for Ukraine, we must go to the east. Of course, I feel some anxiety, but I am not afraid. We trust our commanders and I think we will come back not only intact and unharmed.”
The departure of the Chernihiv battalion for the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area was announced to soldiers and commanders less than a day before it was to occur. After receiving a direct order from Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, the battalion went on patrol in the ATO area. It was sent hastily and without celebrations. As much as 107 policemen had to go, however, before the departure, 21 of them resigned their commissions. Learning of this, Avakov immediately fired cowards. “They have been fired immediately. They did not join it to defend Ukraine. They joined the battalion to earn 4,500 hryvnias per month. Some sort of mercenary patriots they are. I read the report with a strong feeling of disgust. Maybe, a list of ‘heroes’ should be published?” Avakov responded to the event. Let us recall that earlier, the minister fired eight former Chernihiv riot policemen who refused to go into the ATO area.
Commanders of the battalion called their former subordinates deserters. “This is an act of sabotage, a case of direct disobedience,” the battalion commander Feskiv said. “They came as volunteers, and it turns out that they just wanted to make money. These people have broken the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people, which they swore together with all of us. These two dozen deserters should be tried.” “The platoon commander Vitalii Prydatko personally incited the men not to go,” the deputy commander commented. “The whole platoon came on the departure in shorts and behaved defiantly and dismissively. They are cowards!”
Kostiuchenko also said that the battalion was fully provided with bulletproof vests, bulletproof helmets, unloading vests, and new camouflage uniforms. He said that every day now, they should receive new bulletproof vests of the sixth grade of protection. The men of the Chernihiv battalion are now stationed at a base on the coast of the Sea of Azov. After completing additional training, the soldiers will be sent to Luhansk region.
Let us recall that Chernihiv Territorial Defense Battalion No. 13 has been deployed in the north of Luhansk region. It operates under the Southern Operational Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. These districts are now relatively quiet.