February 5, 2023

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Russians in the Russian Freedom Corps: We are not traitors

The number is confidential, but it will be hundreds of Russians fighting alongside Ukrainian soldiers in the Donetsk region (east), in a corps called “Russian Freedom”. Thysar’s spokesman meets journalists in the ruins of an Orthodox monastery in Dolina, in an area recaptured by the Ukrainian army a few months ago and is keen to make clear: “We are not traitors. I am not fighting against the Motherland, but against Putin’s regime, against tyranny. We are true Russian patriots.” “. Created at the start of the war, its emblem is a clenched fist with the words “Freedom” and “Russia” above it, and is part of the Ukrainian Army’s International Volunteer Corps. After receiving two months of training, they have been deployed since May to Donbass, the mining region in eastern Ukraine that Moscow is trying to completely conquer. And his men are deployed above all in Bakhmut, one of the hottest spots on the Eastern Front, which has been the scene of fierce fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces for several months. They are mainly engaged in artillery and are under the command of Ukrainian officers. “They are enthusiastic and professional fighters, and they do their job perfectly,” said a Ukrainian officer. He explained that the recruits “underwent many interviews, psychological tests, and even a lie detector to avoid any risk of infiltration.” “They take part in the war, but they don’t have much influence, because of their small numbers,” says Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov. “Its significance is more political. It is positive that Ukraine can prove that there are Russians who support democracy and freedom and fight on the right side,” he adds.

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