The motivation for further research was found in the Kiev Post‘s article published on January 14, mentioning the alleged establishment of the Unité Continentale organization in Belgrade.
Even though this article does not provide any further information, we decided to look into it a bit. Our first clue was French newspapers and portals, giving the fact that the article relied upon the French portal La Dépêche. The truth is that La Dépêche did write on the topic of French Donbass fighters, but nowhere in the article did it refer to Belgrade as a possible place of establishment of the Unité Continentale organization.
Therefore, we continue our research.
The other French portal, Libération, led us to an article from August 2014, published a week after four volunteers from France – Victor, Nikola, Guillaume and Michael – came to Ukraine to fight for Russia, all of whom are recognized as the founders of the Unité Continentale organization.
The article states that the Unité Continentale organization was established in Belgrade in January 2014, after having got in touch with the political party of Vojislav Šešelj, the Serbian Radical Party, and a nationalistic group called „Zavetnici“.
„In Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, their paths crossed. Here is where they organized, in January, the Unité Continentale organization.“
It was with his political party (Vojislav Šešelj), the Serbian Radical Party, and another nationalistic group, Zavetnici, that „continentals“ got in touch in Belgrade.
In order to prove the credibility of this article, we paid some attention to its author Hélène Despic-Popovic. As a journalist, she was a special envoy in Donetsk for the French portal Libération. Despic-Popovic is also a specialist for the Balkans region, ex-USSR countries and Eastern Europe. She published a book under the title „Chroniques d’un génocide: Les carnets de général Mladic“ and also writes for the portal Nouvel Est – Voyage, Balkans, Caucase.
When it comes to the group „Zavetnici“, not only that it is quite politically active in Serbia and present in the media since its very founding in 2012, but its actions exist well in the territory of Montenegro, Republika Srpska, in one word in the whole Serbian diaspora.
The confirmation of their connection with the Unité Continentale organization we found on their Facebook page. The photo below shows that the Unité Continentale basically „calls on“ all citizens to participate at a gathering under the title „Serbs and Russians together through centuries“, which is organized by „Zavetnici“.
In addition, interesting is the news, reported recently in the media, announcing that the group „Zavetnici“ expressed their wish to form a political party.
Further research on the Unité Continentale organization led as to an article from June 2018, published on the Radio Slobodna Evropa portal, in which it is mentioned its establishment in Belgrade and pointed out to a number of Serbian people who were its members and who were convicted before Belgrade’s High Court in 2018.
Actually, the document provided to the Radio Slobodna Evropa by the General Prosecution of Ukraine, as a response to the enquiry concerning Serbian fighters in Ukraine, states among other things that the Unité Continentale organization was established in summer 2014 and that among 54 investigated persons there were 6 Serbs, all identified as its members.
They are Radomir Pocuca, Zoran Kljajic, Stevan Milosevic, Stefan Celavi, Ivan Mackic and Bratislav Zivkovic. All of them are labelled as the Ukrainian battlefield mercenaries on the Ukrainian website „Myrotovrets“– a website made in the connection with the Center of Research on the Signs of Crime against National Security of Ukraine.
As early as 2014, Serbia adopted the amendments to their Criminal Procedural Code referring to the participation of Serbian nationals at foreign battlefields, and in February 2018, the Belgrade’s High Court delivered 28 convictions to Serbian nationals for the participation in Ukrainian war in 2014.
Among interesting persons from the abovementioned list, we found out that Radomir Pocuca was convicted before Belgrade’s High Court after a plea deal to a prison term of a year and a half, and four years of probation.
The other interesting person is Stevan Milosevic, whose interview for the Radio Slobodna Evropa portal from October 2018 gave us the following information.
In the interview, Milosevic does not mention in what way he came to Ukraine, but he does mention that he came into contact via a Facebook page with an organization in Donbass which organized him a trip to Russia. A guy from France, Nikola, also the commandant of their group, provided him and several others with airline tickets Belgrade-Moscow.
We recall that the Unité Continentale organization was established by Victor Lenta and Nikola Perovic, who is born in France of a Montenegrin father and a Serbian mother, who has both Serbian and French citizenship.
Further tracking the Unité Continentale story development, we came across Cristopher Othen, a blogger who wrote a lot about both this organization and Serbian Donbass fighters.
His blog post reveals that soon after their arrival in Novorossiya, the fight over leadership occurred between Lenta and Perovic, causing a lot of distress inside the organization. After this development, the Novorossiya authorities disbanded the group, thus putting an end to their activities. Even though few members returned home, a number of them stayed in Ukraine.
Finally, in 2018 we came across further activities on the Unité Continentale Facebook page where a new person emerges – Darko Pavlovic – who is, according to the posts, due to take the organization leadership at the end of the year.
During the research process on the establishment place of the Unité Continentale organization, we came across its commander’s statement, Nikola Perovic’s, for the Srbin.info portal, which took us to a different direction, yet connected with the whole story.
According to his statement, one of the Unité Continentale organization members, Ivan Mackic, mentioned at the beginning of this article, came up with an idea to establish a special unit, Serbian Hussar Regiment, which was due to unite Serbian and French people. The whole story included Pocuca as well, also a former member of the organization. As things were moving in another direction for Nikola and his organization, he abandoned this idea and there is where our clue ends when it comes to Nikola’s statement anyway.
Further details about this Regiment were found in the YouTube video published in September 2017, where one of the Serbian volunteers in Novorossiya, Dejan Beric, questions Radomir Pocuca and Vlado Stanic about an alleged assassination attempt on him and the Regiment’s colonel Dragan Srdic known as Dragon.
Here, Pocuca indicates his leaving the Unité Continetal group and that during his stay in Moscow he came into contact with Ivan Mackic, with whom he started to develop the idea of the Regiment’s establishment. Getting in touch with Metropolitan Sergej, the whole idea got a more serious note and the Serbian Hussar Regiment was established.
In the beginning, the Regiment was established within the „Oplot“ unit, and there existed the idea of its independence after it evolved. During its active period, call on the fight in Ukraine was performed via a YouTube video. As for now, the further developments of this Regiment are unknown.