AN OLIGARCH USES HIS PRIVATE ARMY TO OBSTRUCT UKRAINE'S NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
Ukraine has a post-Soviet history of military or paramilitary forces, which are not part of the national military structure commanded by Kyiv.
In part, their existence reflects the lawlessness and disorder suffered by many of the former Soviet republics. But since last year's invasion by the Russian Federation, these groups have grown in number and in total size. At least one of these battalions operates under the umbrella of a Ukrainian ministry, but none of them are part of the regular military.
Some of these units are independent volunteer militias, which pose serious risks of their own to Ukraine's long-term stability.
However, irregular military units are created and/or financed by various of Ukraine's billionaire oligarchs. This kind of private army is very dangerous indeed, and one of the reasons that the West is so peaceful and prosperous, is that its countries haven't permitted such private armies on their territory for generations.
Igor Kolomoisky, the third wealthiest of Ukraine's billionaire oligarchs, has a reputation for using strong-arm tactics to seize control of businesses, adding them to his commercial empire.
During the interim presidency of Turchynov (after Yanukovich was deposed), Kolomoisky was appointed governor of Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. He is believed to have bankrolled the Dnipro battalion, and to be a financial contributor to five of the volunteer battalions.
Through the intermediary of Privatbank, Kolomoisky controls a 42% stake in Ukrtransnafta, part of Ukraine's lucrative petroleum pipeline industry. Recently, Ukraine's parliament (Rada) enacted a law reducing the percentage of shares represented in order to conduct business at a stockholders' meeting. Before this change, Kolomoisky's share was large enough to block any stockholder votes, even though Ukraine itself owns more than 50% of the shares. With this block removed, the Ukrainian government used a meeting last week to dismiss Kolomoisky's picked man as the CEO of Ukrtransnafta, and appointed a new acting CEO...
...but Kolomoisky's guys wouldn't let the new CEO into the company's headquarters in Kyiv. Kolomoisky himself came Kyiv with a small group of armed men, spending the night in the Ukrtransnafta office. Even when he left, the new CEO was not admitted.
This is not a civil war, nor is it even close. But it is a sign of an extremely unhealthy affairs. If you haven't seen much news about the Kolomoisky situation, that's because it isn't such a big deal at this moment. However, Russian news is gloating over this a sign of Ukraine's weakness and disunity.
A useful article in vox.com, on the problem of Ukraine's private armies: