Interfax: Foreigners account for less than a third of east Ukraine militia – top commander

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – March 13, 2015)

The defence ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) says that it is local residents who account for the majority of the members of the Donbass militia, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 13 March.

“I shall tell you the following: 70 per cent of the volunteers are residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic,” Interfax quoted DPR defence minister Volodymyr Kononov (Vladimir Kononov) as saying in an interview with Kommersant FM radio.

Kononov did not deny presence of foreign volunteers in the militia, but he said that their number did not exceed a third of the overall number.

“They could be volunteers from Russia, Belarus, as well as other countries. We have had Swedes, French; we have had all kinds,” Interfax quoted Kononov as saying.

Kononov also said that, before they join the ranks of the militia, volunteers undergo checks for absence of criminal conviction and medical checks.

“We are trying to check this (absence of criminal conviction) without fail, as far as our possibilities allow. And all volunteers undergo obligatory military medical examination,” Kononov said, as reported by Interfax.