Pro-Ukraine Russian fighters? Yes, they do exist.

Early this March, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry revealed to the world that the Russians were actively fighting for the Ukrainian side amidst all Russian forces advancing to Kyiv.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed that these former Russian soldiers decided to switch sides and create the “Freedom of Russia” Legion. According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, several hundred of soldiers wanted to join when it was launched, especially since it was relatively easy for the Russian soldiers to do so. All they needed to do was to apply in writing, and then the applicant would be thoroughly interviewed and background checked by Ukraine’s Security Services and Counter-Intelligence. However, it is essential to note that Russian POWs can also join and that it is entirely voluntary.

Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Aleksey Arestovich also added that they were stringent about this process to prevent FSB officers and Russian soldiers who just wanted to escape Ukraine from joining the legion or compromising it as spies. He notes that a double polygraph test is done on candidates to ensure their intentions.

Members of the Freedom of Russia Legion receiving donations of food from volunteers (NEXTA). Source: https://twitter.com/nexta_tv/status/1535113963813408768
Members of the Freedom of Russia Legion receiving donations of food from volunteers (NEXTA/Twitter)

The group’s slogan is “For Russia, for freedom”—an apparent reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s national rhetoric. This also indirectly relates to the May 9 Victory Day Parade in Moscow, where Putin ended the speech with “For Russia, for victory.”

On May 11, Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Aleksey Arestovich reported that the Freedom of Russia Legion members have been sent to the frontlines and are doing very well. However, we cannot confirm how many pro-Ukrainian Russian troops are currently in the legion.

“On the front line. They are fighting very well. There are several dozen, it’s like a separate unit disguised as the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Arestovich said.

“The number of applications to the legion, including the Russian army, is off the scale. They don’t have time to consider it. I see how the legion is marching across Russia. Because they send me dozens of pictures every day, where they once again drew the letter” L,” once again with the legion’s name, and so on, there is its own music, its own subculture,” he added.

He also noted that the group’s slogan “For Russia, for freedom” has already spread throughout Russia despite the government trying to prevent its spread. However, we cannot confirm the integrity of this claim at this time.

“I know that in the Russian units, including in the JFO zone, special work is being carried out to explain the legion’s viciousness and prevent the military personnel’s sympathies, and even more so – the transition. Moreover, the FSB political officer in military units is directly tasked to prevent it,” Arestovich explained.

These former Russian soldiers are then trained to use Western-donated weapons such as the NLAW so that they may blast their former comrades to smithereens. They are also briefed on what goes on in the front before being sent there. It has also been reported that these former Russian troops were united as they had a common desire to battle against “the guard dogs of the Putin regime,” which they pointed to as the “Kadyrovites.”

The term “Kadyrovites” refer to the Chechen forces led by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. They have also been sent into Ukraine with the specific task of taking out Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian Government officials likely to install a pro-Russian puppet regime. As you may know, these forces were blown up during the initial advance to Kyiv, with the Wagner Group being sent in to finish the mission – to which they were also unsuccessful as Zelensky is still alive.

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Seeing that there were multiple reports of the Russian forces being lied to regarding the true nature of their operation in Ukraine, as well as many being displeased with their government as they were sent to the fight with little ammunition and food supplies, it is not difficult to imagine why many of these Russian soldiers decided to turn on their government.

It has also been reported that the former Vice President of Gazprombank Igor Volobuev has joined the Freedom of Russia Legion along with some former members of the Russian forces, such as sergeant Nikolay Shishkarey from the 70th Motorized Rifle Brigade as well as Captain Maxim Anatolyevich Lesnichenko.

Pro-Ukraine Russian Fighters Capture Pro-Russia Ukrainian Fighters

A photograph that particularly caught the SOFREP team’s attention featured Pro-Ukraine Russian fighters capturing Pro-Russia Ukrainian fighters. A sight you don’t necessarily see every day on social media. But, apparently, the legion had successfully captured Ukrainians who were fighting for Russia. This reflects that within the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is also a civil war within Ukraine as well.

Yes, we see the irony, but essentially, the pro-Ukraine Russian members of the Freedom of Russia Legion (otherwise known as the “Legion of Free Russia”) captured Ukrainian citizens fighting on the side of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic.

Pro-Ukraine Russian soldiers fighting under the Freedom of Russia Legion. In the photo, they capture Ukrainian fighters from the so-called Luhansk People's Republic (@JoaJuan2). Source: https://twitter.com/JoaJuan2/status/1537386234946981891
Pro-Ukraine Russian soldiers fighting under the Freedom of Russia Legion. In the photo, they capture Ukrainian fighters from the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic (NEXTA/Twitter)

With the Russians pushing to capture Severodonetsk in the east, the Russian forces will likely come face to face in a firefight against their men who have turned on them. However, if these pro-Ukraine Russian fighters get captured by the Russian forces, it is not far-flung to think that the Russian leadership wouldn’t be so kind to them.