Ukrainian military command denies existence of 'Georgian Legion'

A statement on Facebook by the 54th Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces claims that there was never a "Georgian Legion" division serving as part of the Ukrainian Army.

"We note that a separate unit under the name ‘Georgian Legion’ does not exist within 54th Separate Mechanized Brigade. Dozens of citizens of other countries voluntarily signed contracts for military service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and have conscientiously served as part of active units at military bases," the message of the 54th Separate Mechanized Brigade reads.

According to the Ukrainian publication Gordon, the so-called ‘Georgian Legion’ was formed by volunteers from Georgia in 2014 who came to take part in the operation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in eastern Ukraine. The publication claims that the unit became part of the 25th mechanized infantry battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, "Kyivan Rus", in 2015.

The evening prior, on January 5, a message appeared on the Facebook page of the Georgian Legion regarding the withdrawal of the unit from the 54th Brigade. The statement claimed that the reasons for the withdrawal were the incompetence of the brigade command and an operation conducted on December 16 that resulted in injuries to 11 Georgian "legionaries" and brigade fighters. In addition, the Georgian Legion accused the Ukrainian military of depriving Georgian volunteers of ammunition and personal belongings that had been delivered to them by volunteers. "The Georgian Legion is not going to be silent, and we will certainly expose people acting against the state interests of Ukraine," the message reads.

Such accusations were refuted by the 54th Brigade. The Brigade command noted that foreign volunteers "conscientiously serve in various divisions of the 54th brigade, and currently have the official status of servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine".

"All property provided by volunteers to the soldiers and other brigade servicemen is properly taken into account, is kept in the brigade and is used for its intended purpose. Despite numerous attempts to discredit the Ukrainian Armed Forces, volunteers and the volunteer army movement, we emphasize the inadmissibility of attempts to use the glorious name of the 54th separate mechanized brigade for their mercantilist or political purposes," said the command of the 54th Separate Mechanized Brigade.

  Georgian Legion, Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukraine