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Around 90% of Donetsk Self-Defense Troops From Donbas - Commander

© RIA Novosti . Maksim Blinov / Go to the photo bankVostok Battalion Commander Alexander Khodakovsky
Vostok Battalion Commander Alexander Khodakovsky - Sputnik International
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Alexander Khodakovsky, one of the chief commanders with self-defense forces of Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk Republic, has told RIA Novosti that the majority of its troops are residents of eastern and southern Ukraine who took to arms to protect their homes.

DONETSK, June 4 (RIA Novosti) – Alexander Khodakovsky, one of the chief commanders with self-defense forces of Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk Republic, has told RIA Novosti that the majority of its troops are residents of eastern and southern Ukraine who took to arms to protect their homes.

“[They come from] Kharkiv, Odessa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia. We’ve become the center of attraction. But around 90 percent are from Donbas,” Khodakovsky said.

Alexander Khodakovsky is the former chief of Ukraine’s special forces unit Alfa in Donetsk. After siding with the independence supporters, he used the expertise he acquired while working for Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) to build the most effective strike force of the Donetsk Republic’s armed forces.

Khodakovsky said most of the defense force’s advanced weaponry – including anti-tank Fagot missiles and portable surface-to-air Igla systems – were trophies of war plundered from Ukrainian military bases, while other equipment was taken from the government troops they disarmed during Kiev’s “anti-terror” operation in the region.

He explained that all independence supporters were acting out of a sense of duty. “At times we get some sponsor help and share it among ourselves so that people had something to give to their families,” Khodakovsky confessed.

The DPR, which proclaimed its independence from Ukraine last month following a referendum, has seen weeks of hostilities that ended in a violent air attack by Ukrainian air force, with assault helicopters firing missile at the international Donetsk airport.

Most of the self-defense force members died when Ukrainian troops opened fire on two Kamaz vehicles, carrying the injured away from the battle.

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