Ukraine's 'Freedom of Russia' legion consisting of Putin's citizens
Inside Ukraine’s ‘Freedom of Russia’ legion consisting of Putin’s citizens fighting to topple him and his dictatorship
- Russian soldiers defected to fight for Ukraine in the ‘Freedom of Russia’ legion
- Two soldiers – known as ‘Caesar’ and ‘Quiet’ – spoke about why they defected
Russian soldiers who defected to fight for Ukraine have said they are driven by the desire to overthrow Vladimir Putin’s ‘FSB dictatorship’ and free their country from tyranny.
Two fighters – known only by their call signs ‘Caesar’ and ‘Quiet’ – said in rare interviews from the frontlines of Bakhmut in Ukraine that they defected from Putin’s military because the Russian’s despots regime ‘destroys people’.
The men, who are in their 40s, are fighting alongside Russian soldiers in the 4,000-strong ‘Freedom of Russia’ legion in Ukraine.
Caesar, who has killed Russian soldiers on the battlefield, told media outlet Important Stories: ‘I clearly began to understand that the country was moving in a completely wrong direction and that Putin’s system – the FSB dictatorship – not only destroys people physically but also morally.’
He added: ‘It does not give people the opportunity to realise themselves and their civil rights.
Caesar, (pictured) who has killed Russian soldiers on the battlefield, told media outlet Important Stories: ‘I clearly began to understand that the country was moving in a completely wrong direction and that Putin’s system – the FSB dictatorship – not only destroys people physically but also morally.’
Two fighters – known only by their call signs ‘Caesar’ and ‘Quiet’ (pictured) – said in rare interviews from the frontlines of Bakhmut in Ukraine that they defected from Putin’s military because the Russian’s despots regime ‘destroys people’
Russians who fight for Ukraine in the Freedom for Russia legion are pictured firing artillery
‘And this system, in order to retain power, resorts more and more to repression and does not leave citizens any possibility of a legitimate change of power.’
He calls himself a Russian ‘nationalist’ saying: ‘I have trained people from right-wing nationalist organisations who could overthrow the current regime by force of arms.’
Another fighter nicknamed Quiet – who earlier completed military service in the Russian army and fought in Chechnya – said: ‘We were trained by the Ukrainian military
‘They told us: “Thank you that you still exist – [Russians] who have brains and a heart that are ready to defend [Ukraine]”.’
A construction worker who lived in Ukraine before the war, he said: ‘[I have no emotions about the fact that I shoot at my compatriots], because there are normal compatriots and insane ones.
‘My task is to kick them out of Ukraine, to liberate Crimea.
‘If they were normal, they would have turned the Kremlin upside down, kicked out all this riff-raff, and lived normally.’
Caesar, born in Russian resort city Sochi and married with four children, said: ‘Honestly, I don’t want to get Ukrainian citizenship and I don’t want to stay here.
‘I like being here, I feel good here, and my soul is calm here because I am doing my Christian military duty.
‘I protect the people of Ukraine. But at the first opportunity, I will return home, if I stay alive, of course.
‘I will return to Russia in arms to free her from tyranny. I want to live and die in my own land.’
Caesar, born in Russian resort city of Sochi and married with four children, is pictured in Russia
Caesar, born in Russian resort city Sochi and married with four children, is pictured in Russia
Russians who fight for Ukraine in the Freedom for Russia legion fire artillery in Bakhmut
Quiet, married with two adult daughters and born in Russian city Tolyatti, said: ‘[After the start of the war] my wife and I started volunteering.
‘As the Kyiv region was liberated, we went there to help the wounded people.
‘My wife brought food and clothes. With other men, we set up a military tent there and dismantled the battered roofs, and inserted windows.’
Quiet said he defected and fought for Ukrainian forces when he saw the atrocities committed by Russian troops near Kyiv, saying that seeing the dead bodies of children and women in person was horrific.
Quiet had been visiting family near Kyiv when he saw the atrocities in Bucha, Irpin and Borodianka – and decided to stay and fight for Ukrainian forces.
He said: ‘[When we saw what the Russian military had done in the Kyiv region], I was in complete shock. We saw the corpses of civilians.
‘I don’t understand at all how you can be a complete moron, what an unsatisfied person you have to be in life to do such a thing – to rape women and children.
‘How could you even touch children. It feels like they released all the perverts from prison, who were supposed to be in prison all their lives, and sent them [to Ukraine].
‘You understand Putin’s system. For 20 years he gathered lackeys and degenerates around him. Now we see the result of this artificial selection.’
Since Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine more than a year ago, evidence of the soldiers committing war crimes has continued to mount. Russia has been accused of raping hundreds of women and girls, as well as murdering and torturing civilians in Russian-held towns.
The legion has been dismissed by Russia as a PR stunt yet more recently has been branded a ‘terrorist organisation’ by the Kremlin.
Russian sources identified Caesar as Maximilian Andronnikov and warned he could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted in Russia.
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