Officials of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said that soldiers of the Sparta special forces battalion had blocked the Ukrainian army’s plan to capture Donetsk airport.
“The enemy tried to break in and capture the Donetsk airport. However, this attempt was stopped by the soldiers of the Sparta Guard battalion,” said Denis Pushilin, head of the Donetsk People’s Republic. (DPR) self-proclaimed in eastern Ukraine, said on September 12.
“Almost the entire enemy raid force was annihilated,” added Denis Pushilin. Donetsk International Airport used to be an important airport in Ukraine and a destination for many international airlines. However, since the fierce fighting in 2014, the airport has been seriously damaged and is no longer used for civilian purposes.
On September 10, the commander of Sparta Battalion Artyom Zhoga (photo) confirmed that this force is still protecting the safety of Donetsk international airport. The Sparta Battalion is a special reconnaissance group within the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic’s bodyguards.
This battalion was formed in August 2014 on the basis of a platoon of machine guns and anti-tank units led by a fighter of Russian origin, Arsen Pavlov. Mr. Pavlov was assassinated in October 2016.
Currently, the number of this battalion falls to more than 7,000 men, and is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Zhoga. In March 2016, the Sparta battalion took part in an armed skirmish in Dokuchaievsk. In September 2016 the Sparta battalion was deployed to the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR)
Thoroughly trained and equipped with many modern Russian-made weapons, during the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, soldiers of the Sparta battalion were assigned many important tasks, including protecting the essential military infrastructure and targets in Donetsk. Soldiers of the Sparta battalion wore camouflage uniforms with their battalion’s emblem, on the insignia (on the sleeves, on the beret) was the black-yellow-white flag of the Russian Empire, on the head inscriptions. M is red, stylized as a flash of lightning, and under it is the inscription “Sparta”.
The letter M is inspired by the name of the monster-fighting army in the novel of the same name by Russian writer Dmitry Glukhovsky. The emblem was developed by the design department of Novorossiya in 2014 according to the personal wishes of battalion commander Arsen Pavlov. Earlier, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) confirmed that agents of the agency’s counterintelligence force had foiled a plot to carry out sabotage attacks in the Kherson region and the Crimean peninsula currently being controlled by Moscow control. According to the FSB, a series of attacks on pro-Russian officials and military facilities in the region were carefully planned to disrupt the Russian military’s defenses.
However, FSB agents foiled the plot after discovering and apprehending the leading suspect. The FSB alleges that the arrested suspect is an employee of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Ukrainian officials have not yet commented on the allegations of the General Security Service of the Russian Federation.