As reported by Censor.NET, this was announced by NSDC secretary, then acting president of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov in an interview to BBC.
He said he personally signed the orders to give weapons to volunteers.
"On March 17, I announced mobilization, but I couldn't get as many people as needed because we simply didn't have clothing for them. The General Staff told me then: army is not a joke. Those drafted should be trained, put together as teams, and that needs at least two months.
"In that situation the only way I had was to call upon the patriots to form volunteer battalions. No limitations were imposed on them: whether you are trained or not, get the gun and go fighting. The patriots were the ones who saved the situation back then.
"But in that way we covered the situation while the army was learning how to fight. I believe the volunteer battalions fulfilled their historic mission - they sacrificed themselves and gave us the time to recover the army," he said.
Turchynov said he didn't have at choice back then and would have done the same again.
He confirmed that none of the volunteer fighters were checked for criminal records during initial stages due to the need to act against the military immediately.
"I remember when I was opening the warehouses with weapons to give it to battalions, officers were refusing to do that. They asked me: 'Oleksandr Valentynovych, who would be responsible for that?' And I said: 'I would be' and kept signing orders for giving weapons," Turchynov said.