Oleksandr Turchynov: In Donbas we confront the military units of the regular army of the Russian Federation, formed by the model of “Waffen-SS”
During the summer of 2015 there were radical changes in the character of Russian engagement in military actions in the East of Ukraine. Now Armed Forces of Ukraine are confronted not by mixed Russian-terrorist groupings, as it was from the beginning of the occupation, but by structured military units of Russian regular army.
At the occupied territory of Donbas the military leadership of Russia has completed the creation of a powerful ground formation, based on two army corps, ready to conduct active offensive operations. Control and supplying of 1st and 2nd army corps are performed by the specially created 12th command of reserve of Southern District of Russia's Armed Forces (headquarters located in town Novocherkassk, Rostov region of Russia). Key command and staff positions in these army corps are occupied by Russian permanent officers. Enlisted personnel of these corps consists up to 40% of residents of the occupied territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, as well as contract soldiers and mercenaries from Russia, who have gained combat experience during the hostilities in the East of Ukraine and in flash points of Russia. The authorized strength of these two army corps is up to 35 thousand men. In addition, at the occupied territory there is a military reserve consisting of 21 tactical groups of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (15 battalion, 6 company groups), numbering more than 9 thousand people. On the eastern border of our country another 53 tactical groups of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are concentrated (39 battalion, 14 company groups) numbering 50,5 thousand people.
The features of forming and functioning of the 1st and 2nd army corps indicate that the Russians for their creation have chosen the model, approbated by the leadership of Germany during World War II and known as the "Waffen SS".
"Waffen SS" is the military units of "SS" which participated in the combat actions at the front during the World War II. Due to the limitation of their own mobilization resource the leadership of Germany has decided to enlist volunteers, who were citizens of occupied countries. In accordance with the official policy of that time exclusively German nationals could serve in the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces).
There were no such restrictions for the "SS", so as a part of it special "Waffen-divisions" were created, which consisted of foreign volunteers and were formed usually on ethnic or religious grounds. German permanent officers of "SS" served as commanders of these "Waffen-divisions" and volunteers from occupied countries were taken to serve as cannon fodder on positions of privates or other lowest military posts. Exactly this experience of forming military units for conducting hostilities in the East of Ukraine was added by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia to its armory. We obtain fundamental data on generals and officers of the Russian army, who are included to the commanding level of Russia's occupation forces. Materials concerning them are being transferred to the Office of Prosecutor General of Ukraine for launching criminal investigations. The command of all the grouping of Russian occupation forces is being carried out by Colonel-General Andrey Serdyukov, Chief of Staff - First Deputy to Commander of the Southern Military District (cover identification document on a surname Sedov).
In particular, the command of the 1st army corps before the beginning of August 2015 was carried out by Major-General of the Russian Army Alexey Zavizyon, seconded from the post of Chief of Staff of the 41st Army of Central Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, who have used cover identification document on a surname Pilevin. The commander of the 2nd army corps is Major-General of Russian Army Evgeniy Nikiforov (cover identification document on a surname Morgun), seconded from the post of Deputy to Commander of 58th Army of Southern Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. A rotation was held here. Down to recent times this army corps was under command of Lieutenant-General Sergey Yudin, who headed the Staff of the 20th Army of Western Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. I would like to stress once again that we are confronted by fully functional military units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
At the occupied territories a large number of heavy armament and military equipment is concentrated, a staggered accumulation of large amounts of fuel and ammunition is being carried out, which are to ensure the conduct of active offensive operations and, according to the plan of Russian General Staff, will be supported by the intrusion of additional units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the territory of Ukraine.