The Western press is still using the term “separatists” when it comes to describing the heavily armed forces of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk Democratic Republics. One UK newspaper even reported about “Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine”, which is an astonishingly absurd phrase to pronounce.
So who are they, the “separatist” forces of DPR/LPR? According to Dmitry Tymchuk, coordinator of the group Information Resistance, Ukraine’s enemy in Donbas consists of 50,000 soldiers. Approximately 55-60% of them are Russian “volunteers”, 10-15% are Russian regular soldiers and officers while 30-35% are locals.
The “volunteers” come from all over Russia. Many of them have been lured into going to Ukraine by the Russian TV Goebbels wannabes, Dmitry Kiselyov and Vladimir Solovyov, and most of them have a background from the army. Some are convicts who have made a deal with the Russian army. However, the management and supply has been provided by the Russian army. Before being sent to the battle fields, they are receiving basic training mainly in Rostov oblast.
This means that 65-75% of the “insurgents” (35,000-37,500) are Russian citizens. So calling this group separatists is wrong.
The locals are a strange mix of criminals, ex-military, hardcore nationalists and adventure seekers. In the beginning of the war, the DPR/LPR leaders recruited many drug addicts and alcoholics. The majority of those was used as cannon fodder. In a war situation it is often seen that low-life losers rise to prominence, as most of the DPR/LPR leaders are living examples of: Zakharchenko was an electrician, Givi (Mikhail Tolstykh) was working in a sling rope factory, Pushilin was selling ponzi schemes for MMM, Mozgovoy (killed May 23, 2015, probably by Russian GRU spetsnaz) worked as a cook in St Petersburg. Many local leaders have been eliminated and more will follow.
One must also have in mind that from the very beginning of the unrest in Donbas, Russian soldiers and officers not only were involved, but also were in charge of the takeover of the administration buildings in Donetsk, Slavyansk, Horlivka (here is a video showing the Russian officer Igor Bezler taking over the local police in April 2014), Luhansk and other cities.
During the next phase, when Russian got control of some border crossing points, a wide array of Russian soldiers were sent into Donbas: kadyrovtsy from Chechnya, South Ossetians, Dagestanis, Cossacks from Kuban, Buryats etc.
The third phase started in August, when it seemed that the Ukrainian forces were going to win. August 19, when the Ukrainians regained control over Ilovaisk, Putin ordered the Russian army to send 3,500 regular soldiers across the border. The Ukrainian forces were encircled, but they made an agreement with the enemy to allow them to retreat from the city. The agreement, favoured by Putin, was not honoured (as all agreements where that dwarf is involved) and more than 500 soldiers were massacred. At the same time Russian soldiers and weapons poured across the border, and the entire border zone from Uspenka to the Azov Sea was occupied in a few days.
“Separatists” flowing in from all over Russia