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Russian legionnaires call for rebellion against Putin: who are they?

The “Freedom of Russia” and the “Russian Volunteer Corps” fighting on the side of Ukraine claimed responsibility for these attacks. “I did not think that the section of the border between two countries that have been at war for a year will not be guarded at all,” says Deniss Nikitin, commander of the “Russian Volunteer Corps”. The only obstacles were rusted wire and long-fallen trees.

The fortifications were simply bypassed

Witnesses say that the fighters easily beat the fortifications built by the Russians on the border – they simply bypassed them. They had a Т-72 tank, armored personnel carrier and a truck and infantry at their disposal.

This did not work, shots rang out, rockets exploded. Local residents felt what the Ukrainians went through for more than a year. Part of a rocket fell into the root garden of a private house in the village of Antonovka. During mortar fire, a projectile hit a house in the village of Kozinka, and caught fire. Another projectile destroyed the supporting structures of some houses and a car, while in the third case only the fence was damaged.

In Gorapodola village, a hay barn was burnt due to firing. In the Graivoron district near the Ukrainian border, projectiles fell on the territory of a road transport company, a total of eight people were injured in local villages. In the village of Glotovo, the legionnaires were supposed to occupy the cultural house, three villages remained without water supply. The goal of the fighters is to create a safe zone for Ukrainian civilians.

Weakened before the Russian

Staff officer of the Latvian National Guard, Major Jānis Slaidiņš stated that this operation can be considered a link in the chain of the Ukrainian counter-attack. In his opinion, the Ukrainians are practicing the same strategy as the Russians in 2014, when, when they annexed Crimea, they declared that ordinary people, actually Russian soldiers, “bought weapons and uniforms in any army store.”

The goal is to attract Russian forces, which should be forced to withdraw from the front unit, thus weakening the front. Slaidins believe that the operation in Belgorod will not cause a civil war in Russia.

Even after the withdrawal of the saboteurs, the attacks continued using drones, including blowing up a Russian army vehicle and killing two soldiers. Meanwhile, Russia claims to have eliminated more than 70 invaders.

Who are they?

Andriy Yusov, the main representative of the Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, announced that the operation was carried out by Russian citizens and that Ukraine was only watching.

What is this training? The “Russian Volunteer Corps” unites the former Russian ultra-right who, nonetheless, are not obsessed with the idea of ​​restoring the USSR. This corps has already carried out operations on the territory of Russia, in the Bryansk region, March 2 and less noticeable on April 6.

Legion “Freedom of Russia” is part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, formed of volunteers, including captured Russian soldiers. It was first announced last March, and soon after, on April 5, the three legionnaires gave a press conference. They said they were initially captured by the Ukrainian army, but did not give their names or military units.

At the end of April last year, Ukraine distributed leaflets on how to correctly apply to the regiment when surrendering to a prisoner – raise your right hand, press the left hand on his elbow, form the letter L. Igors Volobuyev, the former vice president. of Gazprombank who left Russia and was born in Ukraine, campaigned to join the regiment in the area. There is no clarity about how many fighters there are, but as action shows, enough to cause panic in at least one area of ​​Russia.

How to properly apply to the regiment

The lion patch shows a white-blue-white flag with a dot on it. Opponents of the Putin regime began using these colors as an alternative to the current Russian tricolor. Another symbol of “Freedom of Russia” is the letter L, and the words “Legion” and “Liberty” (liberty – English) begin.

The legion’s manifesto, published on the Telegram channel, expresses its determination to fight against Putin’s regime, which destroys the economy, the welfare of the people, development, and oppresses freedom. One of their goals is to preserve a united and indivisible Russia within the borders of 1991, and he declared that “the most humiliated and lawless among all the peoples of the Russian Federation is the Russian people.”

The public figure of “Free Russia” last summer was a mysterious person with the nickname of Caesar, who does not hide that the goal of the Legion is to change power in Russia through violent means. He is often seen with the opposition Ilya Ponomaryev, who poses as a representative of the National Republican Army, the mythical formation that claimed responsibility for the bombing of Darya Dugin, the daughter of the Russian fascist ideologist and philosopher Alexander Dugin.

Heir to the White Army

Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov said that the regiment participates in the war, but due to its small number at the front, it does not have much influence, it is more political. There was also a version that there is no such regiment at all and that it is only an informative project in Ukraine.

On the other hand, there is no doubt about the “Russian Volunteer Corps”, which was founded last August, as Wikipedia claimed, by ultra-right Russian nationalists who fought on the side of Ukraine since 2014, initially as part of legendary regiment “Azov” and other units. The corps is part of the Ukrainian International Legion and is subordinate to the Ministry of Defense. Initially, it was formed by Russian emigrants living in Ukraine.

It seems strange to call them extremists – these men are defending Ukraine, not trying to seize the territory of another country by killing, stealing and violating. Real Nazism flourished in the Kremlin and also took over a large part of the Russian population. One of the corps commanders said that they can rather be considered right-wing conservatives.

“I did not think that the section of the border between two countries that have been at war for a year will not be guarded at all,” said the commander of the “Russian Volunteer Corps” Denis Nikitin. (Photo: Ukrinform/Shutterstock/Vida Press)

The corps flag is a white cross on a black background – under it, the White Army fought against the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. Emblems taken from the youth organization “White Idea” of Russian emigrants created in the 1930s – not to be confused with racism.

In a message on the channel “Telegram”, the body stated that this ideology is based on non-reconciliation – refusal of any form of cooperation with the heirs of the Soviet regime – the power of Putin and his representatives and servants outside the border. He also stated that “Putin and his associates are destroying Russia as an ethnos”.

A neo-Nazi from a Jewish family?

Corps commander Deniss Nikitins (formerly Kapustins) was born in 1984, grew up in Moscow, but in 2001 the family emigrated to Germany and settled in Cologne. “Der Spiegel” reported that they are Russian Jews, while the Ministry of the Interior of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia called Nikitin “one of the most influential neo-Nazi activists” – quite a strange combination.

It is not completely without foundation. Nikitin ran the mixed sports company White Rex and distributed shirts with the inscription 88, which is considered a code for white nationalism. In Switzerland, he trained members of the PNOS party-right in martial arts. Nikitin has described himself as a nationalist who fights for an ethnic Russian Russia, but denies being a neo-Nazi and white supremacist.

Moreover, Nikitin’s actions do not indicate support for Russia’s perceived right to dictate its own rules to other countries. In 2014, he participated in Maidan in Kyiv and since 2017 lives in Ukraine.

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