Foreign fighters join battalion in eastern Ukraine

Foreign fighters from Russia, Georgia and Russian Caucasus region of Ossetia are fighting alongside separatists of Battalion Vostok in eastern Ukraine, seeking the region's independence from pro-western leadership in Kiev.

A pro-Russian rebel from the Vostok Battalion Credit: Reuters

Members of Battalion Vostok - or the East Battalion - said Chechens from Russia's former rebellious region of Chechnya have joined their ranks earlier, but had now gone home, Reuters news agency reported.

Moscow has denied involvement in the conflict that threatens to tear Ukraine apart, but Ukraine's leadership says Russian authorities could do far more to stop these armed groups crossing into eastern Ukraine.