Ukraine says it created a whole battalion from Russians who signed up to fight their own country – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Ukraine says it created a whole battalion from Russians who signed up to fight their own country

Members of a newly-formed Siberian Battalion within the Ukrainian Armed Forces take part in a military training exercise outside Kyiv on October 24, 2023.

Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine said it has set up a new battalion of only Russian citizens. The Siberian Battalion largely consists of people from ethnic minorities in Russia.The battalion is expected to be sent to fight against Russia very soon, Bloomberg reported.

Ukraine said Wednesday that it had created a whole battalion from Russians who wanted to fight their own country.

“We can confirm the information about the creation of the Siberian Battalion, which operates in the ranks of the International Legion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for the Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR) said, according to the Kyiv Post.

Yusov was referring to an article published by Bloomberg earlier this week that said that the soldiers, who are largely from ethnic groups in Russia, had traveled via third countries to join the battalion in Ukraine.

“Ukraine will continue to expand the number of such units, which consist of the peoples of the Russian Federation and express a desire to defend Ukraine on the one hand, and on the other hand, to protect their peoples and small homelands from Russian imperial oppression,” Yusov added.

He said that fighters in the Siberian Battalion have received a call sign to protect their identity and that they have been thoroughly vetted and tested. The battalion does not recruit captured Russian soldiers, he added, as per the Kyiv Post.

The soldiers are expected to be sent to the front lines soon, Bloomberg reported, citing officials at their training camp.

Ethnic minorities in Russia, including Yakuts and Buryats from Eastern Siberia, are treated like second-class citizens in Russia and have been reported to be over-represented in their combat losses.

Previously, Yakut and Buryat activists have said they see Ukraine’s victory as an opportunity to gain independence from Russia, according to The New Voice of Ukraine.

Talks of the battalion started in April this year, when a former Russian intelligence officer, who is from the Yakut ethnic group, said that he was ready to form a battalion to disrupt Russian activities.

Vladislav Ammosov, who served in the GRU — the military intelligence wing of Russia’s army — for 15 years before moving to Europe, told Radio Free Europe that he is “ready to deploy immediately into Russian territory as a part of a sabotage and reconnaissance group and destroy enemies who support Putin’s authorities,” per a translation by The New Voice of Ukraine.

He called his battalion the Siberian Battalion. It is unclear whether the two battalions are related or what Ammosov’s involvement is in the group.

Yusov did also not say where exactly the battalion would be fighting.

A spokesperson for HUR did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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