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Georgian Legion Leaves Ukrainian Armed Forces

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 8
The Georgian Legion, fighting against Russian and pro-Moscow separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, has left the Ukrainian armed forces.

The information was publicized in a Facebook post of the legion, saying they decided to leave Ukraine’s 54th brigade due to “incompetent and illegal orders.”

The Georgian National Legion made the decision after 11 members of the legion andof 25thbattalion were injured on December 16, 2017 coming under the heavy fire from high caliber mortars near the frontline positions near Svitlodarsk, in the country’s eastern Donbas region.

“On December 20, 2017, the entire Georgian Legion left the 54thBrigade because of the incompetence of a commander Oleksiy Maystrenko and his entourage, as well as illegal orders issued by him,” the legion stated.

The statement of the Georgian legion reads the wounded fighters have been denied the medical help and have been threatened with deportation if they speak up about the details of orders issued during the operation.

The legion intends on holding a press-conference where the details will be discussed.

“The Georgian legion is not going to keep silent and will definitely reveal everyone who acts against Ukraine's interests,” the statement reads.

Formed shortly after Russia invaded and illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in March 2014, the Georgian National Legion is a unit of former combat veterans from Georgia’s three post-Soviet wars with Moscow.

In 2016, the unit, whose staff exceeded 100 people, was included in the 54thMechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces. It was the first case when foreigners were officially accepted into the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The Battle of Svitlodarsk was labeled as “one of the bloodiest” in the past five months. It is not known yet which side initiated the fighting.