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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 412
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Dmytro Yarosh Appointed as Adviser to Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief
5 years
Six Ukrainian Troops Killed Today

Viktor Muzhenko, head of the General Staff and Dmytro Yarosh, head of the Volunteer Ukrainian Corps have come to an agreement regarding Yarosh's further role in the Ukrainian military. He has been appointed as an adviser to the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Unian reported citing the Facebook page of the Ukrainian Media Center.

In Ukraine, if the Minister of Defense is a civilian, the Chief of the General Staff becomes Commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The president's title is Supreme Commander-in-chief.

Muzhenko made the following statement about Yarosh's appointment (translation by The Interpreter):

"The fighters of the Volunteer Ukrainian Corps (DUK) displayed their high motivation and combat spirit worthily in many battles. Their experience and knowledge will work toward the development of all the Armed Forces. We understand the need for changes and increasing the effectiveness of all branches of the work of the Army. We also are reviewing various models of development for the reserve divisions of the Armed Forces. We will draft changes and implement them depite the external aggression and internal resistance of those who do not reforms. We have gathered all the patriots and defenders of Ukraine under one command. The enemy sees our unity and sees that attempts to sow division among Ukrainians does not have success. We have one goal and one Motherland. The army becomes stronger with every week."

Yarosh, a follower of controversial Ukrainian war hero Stepan Bandera, is head of the ultranationalist Right Sector, notorious for views characterized by multiple  sources as "extreme," "fascist" or even "neo-Nazi. While his group did not reach the 5% threshold in the parliamentary elections to gain seats via party lists, he and several other members of Right Sector were elected in single-mandate districts to the Verkhovna Rada or parliament.

There have been a number of allegations that members of his group are responsible for human rights violations and crimes. In December 2014, Amnesty International blamed Right Sector for the hold-up of some humanitarian aid truck last December which they claimed threatened "all of the Donbass with starvation."

Right Sector indeed held up trucks managed by Pomozhem "We'll Help"), a charity run by Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, claiming they contained cigarettes or were going to separatist fighters not civilians. But after determining that certain delivery trucks were not related to Akhemtov's organization, the aid, temporarily rerouted to Dnepropetrovsk, resumed and was reaching Donetsk and other cities. On January 9, Akhmetov's trucks resumed deliveries without impediment in January 9

And during this period, two convoys of Relief trucks sent by the Russian government also continued to arrive and gain access to the region as reported December 12 and December 17.

The urgent problem for the Ukrainian military leadership has been the disagreement over tactics and constant complaints from the volunteer battalions about how the generals were running the war -- which Ukraine has been losing facing the military might of Russia.

Ultimately, President Petro Poroshenko ordered the volunteer battalions to come under the leadership of the regular army and also forced the resignation of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky from his position as governor of Dnepropetrovsk Region, who was funding some of the volunteer battalions. Fighters from the Right Sector transferred to contracts with the 79th Brigade.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick