Donetsk, Oct 16 - DAN. Donetsk has marked the 2nd anniversary of the tragic death of Donetsk People’s Republic Hero, first commander of Separate Reconnaissance Battalion Sparta Arsen Pavlov (call sign Motorola), acting DPR Head Denis Pushilin's website reported.

“On September 16, acting DPR Head Denis Pushilin took part in a meeting marking the fourth anniversary of the Sparta reconnaissance battalion and the second anniversary of the tragic death of its first commander Arsen Pavlov,” the report said.

Reports on Monday said that Pushilin had signed a decree awarding the honorific “Guard” to the battalion. At the Tuesday ceremony, he fixed the Guard Ribbon to the Battalion’s flag.

“The title ‘Guard’ has been awarded to the best, the most heroic units since the Great Patriotic War,” Pushilin said. “Sparta absolutely deserves the honorific. You took up arms and stood up for the Motherland as the conflict broke out. You are making our history."

“On this day, I remember your commander, DPR Hero Arsen Pavlov, the legendary Motorola. The enemy could not get him in the battlefield, so they committed a cowardly murder. Arsen Pavlov’s feat will live in our hearts and memory forever,” the acting DPR Head said.

A ceremony followed to hand in orders, medals and honour badges to servicemen. After the official part of the event, a tour of the Sparta and Arsen Pavlov Museum was arranged.

The Separate Reconnaissance Battalion Sparta was set up in August 2014. All its members took part in the defence of Slavyansk and Ilovaisk as well as in the Donetsk airport fighting. On November 22, 2016, the battalion was named after DPR Hero, Sparta commander Arsen Pavlov, killed in the explosion in central Donetsk on October 16, 2016. Investigators ascertained that Ukrainian secret services had been behind the terrorist attack.*jk