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Ukraine. The Russians are fighting on the Ukrainian side, the “Freedom of Russia” legion, the New York Times reported

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The New York Times wrote that many Russians who do not identify themselves with the criminal war unleashed by Vladimir Putin are fighting in the “Freedom of Russia” legion on the Ukrainian side. “They want to stop Putin and free Russia from the dictatorship,” said Andriy Yusov of the Ukrainian military intelligence HUR. “A true Russian does not engage in such a war, he will not rape children, kill women and the elderly,” said one of the soldiers hiding under the pseudonym Caesar.

Legion “Freedom Russia” has few members, which is due both to the fear of retaliation from the Russian authorities, but also to the reluctance of Ukrainian soldiers to recognize the merits of those whose homeland has caused Ukraine so much harm, wrote The New York Times.

At the beginning of the war, Ukrainian law prevented Russian citizens from joining the Ukrainian armed forces. The regulations allowing the legion to fight on the side of Ukraine were approved only in August, explained “NYT”, quoting Andriy Yusov, spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR). “Many Russians, who (…) did not remain indifferent due to their moral principles, were looking for a way to join the ranks of defenders of Ukraine,” Yusov said, explaining the reasons for creating the unit. “They all (…) very much want to stop Putin and free Russia from the dictatorship,” he added.

Ukrainian army Ministry of Defense of Ukraine/Facebook

The group operates under the aegis of the Ukrainian International Legion, a unit composed of volunteers from many countries – including USAGreat Britain, Belarus, Georgia and other countries, the newspaper reported. Its members took up arms against Russia for various reasons: out of indignation at the armed aggression that their home country committed against Ukraine, out of a desire to defend this country from their own homeland, or out of organic hatred of Putin. They gained the trust of Ukrainian commanders, allowing them to take a place among those fighting against the Russian army, emphasized “NYT”.

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“A true Russian does not engage in such a war, he will not rape children, kill women and the elderly,” said one Russian soldier, hiding under the pseudonym Caesar, mentioning the atrocities committed by his compatriots, which motivated him to leave his native St. Petersburg and fighting on the side of Ukraine. “That’s why I have no remorse. I do my job, I killed a lot of them,” he added.

Soldiers near the front lineMinistry of Defense of Ukraine/Facebook

We came here to help Ukraine”

Joining the legion is not easy. Applicants must submit an application and undergo a detailed background check, which includes polygraph tests. Only then can they proceed to basic training. As Russian citizens, they are met with justified mistrust. Andriy Yusov said that Russian spies repeatedly tried to infiltrate the unit, the “NYT” reported.

Ukrainian soldiersMinistry of Defense of Ukraine/Facebook

“We didn’t come here to prove anything,” one soldier nicknamed Zaza told the American newspaper. “We have come here to help Ukraine achieve the full withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory and the future deputinization of Russia,” he added.

Fearing for the safety of their relatives, none of the soldiers agreed to be identified by name or provide details of their biographies. Last week, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office filed a lawsuit with the country’s highest court to designate the Freedom of Russia legion as a terrorist organization, the New York Times reported.

Main photo source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine/Facebook

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