Donetsk, Sep 27 - DAN. There have been nearly 500 cases of Ukrainian air assault troops deserting their positions on the front line in Donbass since the beginning of this year, Donetsk People’s Republic People’s Militia deputy commander Eduard Basurin said on Friday.

“The number of those who wish to serve in Ukrainian armed formations rapidly decreases every day,” Basurin said.

“In the air assault forces alone, 474 desertion cases have been reported since the beginning of 2019. A majority of incidents occurred in 80th Brigade where the number of deserters reached 118.  The situation is similar in other brigades,” he said.

According to open sources, Ukraine’s air assault troops comprise seven brigades, one battalion, an air assault troops equipment depot and a training centre. Paratroopers, nicknamed racoons, number 8,00 and are equipped with tanks, vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, armoured cars, anti-aircraft guns etc.*jk