On October 13 hundreds of National Guard soldiers staged locked their officers, left their base in Novi Petrivtsi and marched on Kiev to protest outside the president’s office demanding their demobilisation. A similar protest by 50 National Guard soldiers took place in Kharkov.
Upon their arrival In Kiev, the 300 hundred servicemen rallied to demand their demobilisation as they have already served a year of their term of involuntary service, plus an additional six months in accordance with President Poroshenko’s decree. Soldiers were chanting, “Demobilization!” and, “All for one and one for all.”
According to an RT report “servicemen also called for their commanders to be dismissed, who they said were responsible for not providing troops with winter uniform and proper provision in the ATO zone in Donbass.”
According to Kharkov News, another 50 National Guard soldiers went to the city’s Freedom Square to raise the same demands.
112.ua reported that later on the soldiers in Kiev had agreed to go back to their barracks in exchange of a promise of no punishment. They were also promised by the deputy head of the Presidential Administration that conscript soldiers in the National Guard would not fight in the area of the “anti terrorist operation.”
However, the commander of the National Guard Stepan Poltorak (who has just been nominated by Poroshenko for the post of Defence Minister) said the protests were illegal, accused the soldiers of being “politically motivated” and “playing into the hands of Putin” (http://112.ua/politika/poltorak-nazval-protest-nacgvardeycev-politicheskoy-provokaciey-129076.html).
Stronger words were used by neo-nazi commader of the Azov Regiment Andriy Biletsky who labelled the protesting soldiers “a bunch of rats” and described their protest as “a disgusting farce” in a statement to Hromadske TV station.