Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Михаи́л Серге́евич Толсты́х aka "Givi"

Mikhail Sergeyevich Tolstykh (Russian: Михаи́л Серге́евич Толсты́х), better known by his callsign "Givi" (Ги́ви), is a commander in the pro-Russian separatist "Somali Battalion" (Russian: Батальон Сомали) in the War in Donbass. In an online interview, Givi claimed that he is from Ilovaisk and served in the Ukrainian Army from 1998 to 2000 before working at a sling rope factory. In an interview he stated that his great-grandfather was an ethnic Georgian.

Fighting between separatist insurgents affiliated with the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Ukrainian government forces broke out at Donetsk International Airport on September 28, 2014. The new battle was sparked despite a ceasefire agreement, called the Minsk Protocol, that had been in place from September 5th. Heavy fighting over the airport continued into the new year, and on January 21st, 2015 DPR forces overran the government's positions at the airport. The remaining Ukrainian forces were either killed, forced to retreat, or captured.

Following months of ceasefire violations, the Ukrainian government, the DPR and the LPR jointly agreed to halt all fighting, starting on September 1st, 2015. This agreement coincided with the start of the school year in Ukraine, and was intended to allow for another attempt at implementing the points of Minsk II. The area around Mariupol, including Shyrokyne, saw no fighting. No final settlement to the conflict was agreed.