Former Russian military personnel form anti-Putin legion.
A combat unit manned by Russian citizens opposed to the Kremlin began training at a Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) military base, news reports on Thursday, March 31, said.
The newly-formed volunteer unit “Freedom for Russia” contains more than 100 members, all former Russian Federation (RF) army service members wanting to fight on Ukraine’s side in its war against the Russia, Segondya newspaper reported.
The unit will be trained as combat infantry and is currently practicing small unit tactics and the battlefield use of the British-made NLAW anti-tank missile, the UNIAN news agency reported.
Recruitment primarily is from an estimated 1,500 RF prisoners of war captured by the UAF since RF invasion on Feb. 24, the report said.
The legion’s members are familiar with the latest military developments in Ukraine and are now determined to fight what they describe as “Putin’s chained dogs,” referring to Chechnya President Ramzan Kadyrov’s forces in Ukraine that has joined the Russian forces shortly after the invasion began.
Lieutenant Colonel Sergey Kosik, a former serviceman of the 14th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment named after A. A. Zhdanov, has already been accepted into the legion’s rank.
The channel also features videos of Russians calling on their compatriots to put an end to their passivity and start fighting for the future of Russia.
A FR video showed a man identifying himself as a former RF army officer who was appalled to find his unit had been ordered in late February to invade Ukraine and attack Ukrainian civilians, their homes, and their businesses. He said he led his company into UAF capacity after “coordination” with agents from Ukraine’s national intelligence agency the SBU.
The Russian officer called on RF service personnel in Ukraine to desert to the Ukrainian side and fight on the side of morals and freedom, or at least to go home and “stop carrying out criminal orders”. He said the FR already is performing limited combat tasks.
Since the start of the war on Feb.24, Ukraine has managed to attract thousands of volunteers worldwide.
The country’s International Legion includes soldiers from the U.K., Canada, Poland, the U.S., and other states, fighting next to Kyiv and other locations.
According to Ukrainian media, the Polish soldiers have already destroyed a Russian convoy. Meanwhile, a former Canadian Armed Forces sniper nicknamed “Wali” has debunked his rumored death in Ukraine just “20 minutes after arriving in Mariupol.”
Belarusian nationals who oppose Lukashenko’s regime have also joined the fight.
The UAF in early March announced the formation of a Belarusian volunteer infantry unit, called the Kastus Kalinouski Battalion. The formation numbers between 300 to 400 volunteers, drawn from Belarusian emigres living in Europe, and residents of Belarus opposed to official Minsk’s strong support to Moscow in its war against Ukraine.
The UAF command plans, when possible, to field the Russian-manned Freedom of Russia company alongside the Belarusian Battalion, the reports said.
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