DONETSK, March 5. /TASS/. Denis Pushilin, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said Vladimir Zhoga, the commander of the Sparta battalion, was killed in battle in the town of Volnovakha on Saturday.
"Today, the commander of the Sparta separate reconnaissance battalion, Guards Col. Vladimir Zhoga (nom de guerre Vokha), died like a hero in Volnovakha," Pushilin wrote in his Telegram channel.
According to the DPR leader, Zhoga was mortally wounded during an operation to ensure safe exit of civilians from Volnovakha.
"Sparta men were providing a cover for evacuation of civilians, mostly women and children. Nationalists opened fire at them," Pushilin wrote.
The DPR leader said he had signed a decree to posthumously award Zhoga the title of the hero of DPR.
The Sparta battalion was created in 2014, and took part in battles for Slavyansk and the airport of Donetsk. The battalion’s first commander Arsen Pavlov, known as Motorola, was killed by an explosive device on October 16, 2016.