Andriy Biletsky is a commander of the "Azov" special purpose regiment of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, a lieutenant colonel of police.
He was born in Kharkiv in 1979. Biletsky's father Yevhen Biletsky descends from an old Cossack family that founded a village of Krasnopavlivka (Lozov Region), while Biletsky's mother Olena Biletska (Lukashevych) descended from a noble family from Zhytomyr region, that is, also akin to Vasyl Lukashevych who founded the "Little-Russian Secret Society".
In 2001, Biletsky graduated from the History faculty of the University of Kharkiv. His thesis was devoted to the activities of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. After graduation, he worked as a professor in Kharkiv universities and continued to study military history of Ukraine. A known Ukrainian historian Yaroslav Dashkevych carried out informal management of his research activities.
In his youth, Biletsky went in for sports and boxing. Subsequently, he was engaged in knife fight, fencing, marksmanship and other sports, and has made great progress. These skills helped to establish a high level of training in his subordinate organizations.
In 2003, he married Yulia Biletska (Brusenko). His son Oleksandr was born in 2007. Andriy took an active part in politics since his student days.
In 2001, he participated in the “Ukraine without Kuchma” protests, for which ended up under an administrative arrest. The Security Service of Ukraine put pressure on the university administration to exclude him out of the institution.
After transformation of SNPU into Svoboda and liquidation of the original “Patriot of Ukraine,” in 2005 Biletsky initiated revival of the “Patriot of Ukraine” independently from any political factions. He has been planning, coordinating and participating in all its activities from the very beginning. Personally led almost all the groups that carried out the operations to identify points of drug trafficking, detention of illegal immigrants and others. Supervised the organization’s mass actions (marches, rallies, sporting events, demonstrations etc).
In August 2011, a number of arrests of Ukrainian patriots was launched.
In late August 2011, heads of the local branches of the "Patriot of Ukraine" were arrested in Kyiv in the so-called case of "Vasylkiv terrorists."
August 23, 2011, a well-known on the Web Ukrainophobe Sergiy Kolesnik committed an armed attack on the office of the Kharkiv branch of the "Patriot of Ukraine" (Kharkiv, Rymarska St. 18).
November 19, 2011, there was an attempt to kill Biletsky when he was fired upon in his house and received several firearm wounds.
December 27, 2011, Andriy Biletsky was arrested in the case of "Rymarska St. defense.” December 29, 2011, a preventive measure in the form of a 2-month detention was chosen. February 16, 2012, the term of detention was extended until April 27, 2012. He was kept in the Kharkiv jail - notoriously known since the days of Soviet repressions as "Holodnogorska prison”.
In various cities across the country protests were held against the political repressions of Ukrainian patriots.
February 24, 2014, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the resolution number 4202 "On the release of political prisoners," which resulted in Andriy Biletsky’s release, and 2 hours later he went to the Maidan.
By late spring 2014 he formed the basis of the "Azov" volunteer battalion.
The "Azov" volunteer battalion originated from the "Black Corps," which in March - April 2014 held a series of successful operations in eastern Ukraine. The "Black Corps" (popular name – "little black men") was a response of the Ukrainian patriots to the emergence of "little green men" - the Russian military in the Crimea and set the goal of liberation of the east of Ukraine from Putin’s saboteurs and terrorists. The "little black men" conducted a number of successful guerrilla actions and in the beginning of May entered into a military confrontation with separatists in the south-eastern Donetsk region. Andriy Biletsky was the founder and leader of the "Black Corps."
During one of the operations, the "Azov" soldiers captured I.Kakidzyanov - the first "Defense Minister of the Donetsk People's Republic” (DPR). June 13, 2014, the "Azov" battalion freed Mariupol, a city that has a population of more than 500 thousand people, from militants. In the beginning of July, the "Azov” battalion fighters controlled the Azov Sea region almost completely. The "Azov" soldiers cleansed Starobeshevo and Maryinka of militants and were the first to enter Donetsk. The battalion departments fought arduous battles on the outskirts of Ilovaysk. Currently, "Azov" is involved in the defense of Mariupol. The southeast of Donetsk region is "Azov’s" area of responsibility.
"Azov" lost 14 fighters in the battles. 27 people were injured. More than 40 fighters of the "Azov" battalion were presented with awards.
Apart from Ukrainians, "Azov" consists of volunteers from Russia, Belarus, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Italy, France, Croatia, Slovakia and other countries.
"Azov" is known for its discipline, coordination and high morale.
August 2, 2014, Biletsky was awarded with the Order "For courage" of III degree "for personal courage and heroism in defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," and August 15, 2014 he received the rank of lieutenant colonel of police extraordinary.
September 17, 2014, the "Azov" volunteer battalion was expanded to the regiment. Andriy Biletsky was appointed the commander of the regiment.
Expansion of the battalion to the regiment is recognition of “Azov’s” military merit.