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PRESERVING THE ITEMS THAT WITNESSED HISTORY

Greek Volunteers in the Bosnian War

Greek Volunteers in the Bosnian War

During the Bosnian War, volunteers of different nationalities fought for the Army of Republika Srpska. They were motivated by different reasons: financial gain, religious identification, and political orientation. One of the largest groups of foreign volunteers in the Army of Republika Srpska were the volunteers from Greece.

 

 

The exact number of Greek volunteers in the Bosnian Serb army is unknown, estimations vary between 150 and 300 soldiers. Greek volunteers were first noticed in the VRS units during the Siege of Sarajevo in 1993. The first volunteer was a former special units sergeant Costas Kazopoulos, who was a member of chetnik units around Sarajevo.  In the following months, the number of volunteers increased, after the promotion campaign of the Greek far-right organization. The volunteers were a mix of former army professionals and far-right extremists, with an alleged link with the organization Golden Dawn.

 

 

In the first years of the war, all the Greek volunteers who arrived in the Republika Srpska, joined the forces of the regular army, in the various units of the Sarejevsko-Romanijski Corps. Some Greek volunteers were members of special forces unit Beli Vukovi (White Wolves) and Novo Sarajevo Chetnik Detachment, under the command of Slavko Aleksić. There were also Greek members in the Vukovi sa Drine (Wolfs from the Drina) unit, and they participated in the fights around the town Zvornik. Some Greeks were members of the international squad of the Serbian Volunteer Guard (Arkan’s Tigers), along with the Russian volunteers. They had one pieced black uniforms and wore black berets. There is even a report of a Greek member of the Arkan’s Tigers who served as the special units instructor in the People's Defense of Western Bosnia (Narodna Odbrana Zapadne Bosne), the armed forces of the Muslim autonomous zone in Western Bosnia. In the summer of 1995, the majority of volunteers belonged to two armed formations, the forces besieging Sarajevo and the Greek Volunteer Guard (Ελληνική Εθελοντική Φρουρά).

 

 

The Greek Volunteer Guard was formed in March 1995, by the order of General Ratko Mladić. The Unit was based in the town Vlasenica and was part of the Drina Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS). The unit was led by Antonis Mitkos, who was under the command of Zvonko Bajagić. Members of the unit wore Greek Lizard Pattern uniforms and had its own insignia, a double-headed white eagle on a black background armband, with the inscription: Greek Volunteer Guard in Greek and Serbian ( Ελληνική Εθελοντική Φρουρά – Грчка Добровољачка Гарда) and the moto Εν τούτω νίκα, which means – Under this sign, you will win. The armband was worn on the left arm and on the right arm they worn a regular Vojska Republike Srpske army patch.  The volunteers have also worn Serbian and Greek flag patches and various volunteer insignia. There is photographic evidence of Greek volunteers wearing different uniforms of the era, Serbian Tiger Pattern uniforms, M89 and M93 uniforms, and others.

 

 

The Greek Volunteer Guard participated in the operation Krivaja 95, in August 1995, during which the Army of Republika Srpska taken over the town of Srebrenica. General Ratko Mladić ordered the Greek flag to be raised next to the Serbian flag in Srebrenica, to honor the Greek participants of the operation.
 

 

During the Bosnian war, no Greek volunteers were killed, 3 were wounded and 4 were decorated by the military merit decorations of the Republika Srpska.


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