Territorial defence battalions (Ukraine)
Territorial defence battalions (Ukrainian: Батальйо́ни територіа́льної оборо́ни) were volunteer military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the auspices of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence in 2014–2015. They should not be confused with the volunteer units of Special Tasks Patrol Police of Ukraine which created along with territorial defense battalions, but under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior. The battalions were established in mid-2014, during the early stages of the War in Donbass, to combat the pro-Russian separatists and the forces of the Donetsk People's Republic, Luhansk People's Republic, and the United Armed Forces of Novorossiya. 32 volunteer territorial defence battalions have been formed.
In autumn 2014 most of the territorial defence battalions were reorganized as motorized infantry battlions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
In March 2014 acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov issued an order to create seven territorial defence battalions. These formations were subordinated to the Ministry of Defense. Battalions generally took their name from wherever most of their recruits were from.
- 17 March 2014 Ukraine began first stage of mobilization
- 18 March 2014 - 3rd Territorial Defence Battalion was created in Lviv Oblast
- 19 March 2014 - the Defence Regiment was created in Dnipropetrovsk (later, the regiment was reformed into two territorial defence battalions)
- 6th Territorial Defence Battalion was created in Ternopil Oblast
- 9th Territorial Defence Battalion was created in Vinnytsia Oblast
- 12 April 2014 - 10th Territorial Defence Battalion was created in Zhytomyr Oblast
- 23 April 2014 - 13th Territorial Defence Battalion was created in Chernihiv Oblast
- 24 April 2014 - 15th Territorial Defence Battalion was created in Sumy Oblast
- 17th Territorial Defence Battalion was created in Kirovohrad Oblast
- 26 April 2014 - 22nd Territorial Defence Battalion "Kharkiv" was created in Kharkiv Oblast
- 30 April 2014 Oleksandr Turchynov issued an order to create 27 territorial defence battalions
Since 30 April 2014 all territorial defence battalions have been part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and fall under the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the governors of the oblasts (provinces) in which they were created. By law, every oblast in Ukraine should create its own territorial defence battalions.
- 6 May 2014 Ukraine began a second stage of mobilization.
- 19th Territorial Defence Battalion was created in Mykolaiv. The unit was first used in the Mykolaiv area setting up roadblocks to slow separatist entry into the region, however by July it had been deployed to Donbass in order to take a more active role in the ongoing War in Donbas aiding other volunteer battalions as well as the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
- 21st Territorial Defence Battalion was created in Kherson Oblast
- 24th Territorial Defence Battalion "Aidar" was created in Luhansk Oblast
- 25th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kyivska Rus" was created in Kiev Oblast
- 34th Territorial Defence Battalion "Batkivshchyna" was created in Kirovohrad Oblast. The battalion was named after (and funded by) the political party with the same name as part of its "Resistance movement".
- 22 July 2014 Ukraine began third stage of mobilisation
- 37th Territorial Defence Battalion was formed between 29 August 2014 and 8 September 2014 in Zaporizhia Oblast. According to Zaporizhia Oblast Governor Valeriy Baranov the battalion will be the first of its kind to receive tanks.
- 40th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kryvbas" was formed in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
- 41st Territorial Defence Battalion was formed in Chernihiv Oblast
- 42nd Territorial Defence Battalion was formed in Kirovohrad Oblast
During the opening stages of the war in Eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian military and police forces were largely ineffective in separatist areas, often surrendering equipment or being overwhelmed in cities by large crowds of civilians. Federalist and pro-Russian insurgents quickly gained large swaths of territory. Ukraine also lost control of the Ukrainian-Russian border and this allowed time for a large inflow of insurgents and military supplies from Russia.
The Russian Communist Party has pushed to label the battalions as terrorist organizations, even though they are directly subordinate to the Government of Ukraine and are legal government agencies of Ukraine. Russian politicians have not pushed for declaring pro=Russian insurgents fighting in Ukraine as terrorists.
The battalions receive basic resources and weapons from the Interior Ministry or the Ministry of Defence. These resources soon proved to be inadequate and numerous groups have helped to equip the battalions. The best known volunteer groups are Self-defence of Maidan, which has its own warehouses in Melitopol, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv, and Army SOS, an initiative of former Euromaidan activists. Volunteers provide things like: hygiene items, food, sleeping bags, night vision goggles and multicopters (for use as drones).
List of territorial defence battalions
- 1st Territorial Defence Battalion "Volyn" (Volyn Oblast)
- 2nd Territorial Defence Battalion "Horyn" (Rivne Oblast)
- 3rd Territorial Defence Battalion "Volya" (Lviv Oblast)
- 4th Territorial Defence Battalion "Zakarpattia" (Zakarpattia Oblast)
- 5th Territorial Defence Battalion "Prykarpattya" (Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, disbanded in January 2015)
- 6th Territorial Defence Battalion "Zbruch" (Ternopil Oblast)
- 7th Territorial Defence Battalion (Khmelnytskyi Oblast)
- 8th Territorial Defence Battalion (Chernivtsi Oblast)
- 9th Territorial Defence Battalion "Vinnytsia" (Vinnytsia Oblast)
- 10th Territorial Defence Battalion "Polesia" (Zhytomyr Oblast)
- 11th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kyivan Rus" (Kiev Oblast)
- 12th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kyiv" (Kyiv city)
- 13th Territorial Defence Battalion "Chernihiv-1" (Chernihiv Oblast)
- 14th Territorial Defence Battalion "Cherkasy" (Cherkasy Oblast)
- 15th Territorial Defence Battalion "Sumy" (Sumy Oblast)
- 16th Territorial Defence Battalion "Poltava" (Poltava Oblast)
- 17th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kirovohrad" (Kirovohrad Oblast)
- 18th Territorial Defence Battalion "Odesa" (Odessa Oblast)
- 19th Territorial Defence Battalion (Mykolaiv Oblast)
- 20th Territorial Defence Battalion "Dnipro" (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast)
- 21st Territorial Defence Battalion "Sarmat" (Kherson Oblast)
- 22nd Territorial Defence Battalion "Kharkiv" (Kharkiv Oblast)
- 23rd Territorial Defence Battalion "Khortytsya" (Zaporizhia Oblast)
- 24th Territorial Defence Battalion "Aidar" (Luhansk Oblast)
- 25th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kyivan Rus" (Kiev Oblast)
- 34th Territorial Defence Battalion "Batkivshchyna" (Kirovohrad Oblast)
- 37th Territorial Defence Battalion (Zaporizhia Oblast)
- 39th Territorial Defence Battalion "Dnipro-2" (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast)
- 40th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kryvbas" (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast)
- 41st Territorial Defence Battalion "Chernihiv-2" (Chernihiv Oblast)
- 42nd Territorial Defence Battalion "Rukh Oporu" (Kirovohrad Oblast)
- 43rd Territorial Defence Battalion "Patriot" (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast)
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