AUkraine’s Azov soldiers are the ones who dared to fight to the last drop of blood. Russia fought a three – month war against Ukraine to defeat the Azov Regiment. The world is watching the course of the war with the surrender of the Azov fighters who held the Russian army hostage. Azov was the front line of the Russian army. Azov was the culprit behind Russia’s losses beyond reckoning. Questions are being raised internationally as to whether that fighting spirit is over and whether Ukraine will kneel before Russian military forces.
Russia’s capture of the Azovstall steel factory in Mariupol and the surrender of Ukrainian troops have led the Russia-Ukraine war in a new direction. The troops surrendered after the Ukrainian government instructed them to stop fighting. Russian Defense Minister Vladimir Putin has said that 2,439 Ukrainian fighters have surrendered and liberated the Azovstal steel plant, the last base of the Ukrainian army. Russia has imprisoned Ukrainian troops, including Commander Azov, who led a defense from the steel plant.
Mariupol’s capture was Russia’s biggest military victory in three months. Russia has reportedly begun reconstruction of Mariupol. Land mines were also removed to keep the port open. Along with the Russian army, the separatists and the Chechen army fought against Azov at Mariupol. The war in Mariupol is almost over, but thousands of Russian troops remain there. It is estimated that without water, electricity, food and medicine, they will not be able to survive for long.
Azov; Spearhead of Ukraine
The Russian army was often dispersed in the face of the fighting spirit of the Azov army. The communication system broke down. Hundreds of soldiers were killed, including senior commanders of the Russian army who came to capture Mariupol. Yet Russia retaliated. Mariupol turned into a morgue during the most bloody battle ever. The Azov army eventually surrendered, following instructions to stop the flow of blood.
The Azov Battalion is called the Spartans. They are considered by the Ukrainians to be the equivalent of the Spartan warriors who prevented Persia’s invasion of Greece 2500 years ago. The Azov fighters were concentrated in tunnels built during the Soviet era at the Azov Steel Factory. Azovstall covers an area of 11 square kilometers. The capture of Azovstall has become a matter of Russia’s pride. That is why Russian President Vladimir Putin said in April that not a single fly would be allowed to fly out. Russia used all its weapons, including drones, tanks and missiles. It is estimated that thousands of civilians were killed in the war. The Azov battalion communicated by telegram. They used the telegram to bring out the wounded and to show the horrors of the war. The Western world hailed the battle of the Azov Battalion. Bloomberg wrote that it was a magical performance.
The decision to surrender came after the physically and mentally exhausted fighters ran out of water, food and medicine. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Selensky has said that the repatriation of Azov prisoners of war is an important issue for the country. “The country needs Ukrainian leaders alive. Every effort is being made to bring the boys back home. If Ukrainian troops are released, Russian prisoners of war can be released, “said Selensky.
Russia hates Azov fighters the most. Russia says Azov fighters are Nazis, extremists and neo-Nazis. Putin’s claim that the war was being waged by neo-Nazis led to widespread protests.
Azov’s Nazi connection
The Azov militants began to gain attention in 2014 when they launched a campaign against separatists. The Azov Regiment is a special group of about a thousand. Nationalism, racism and Nazi ideology are all accused of being their specialties. In May 2014, the Patriot of Ukraine and the Neo-Nazi Social National Assembly (SNA) launched a new group. They were accused of physically manipulating those who opposed their ideas. They were inducted into the Ukrainian National Guard on November 12, 2014, after the capture of Mariupol, who was controlled by pro-Russian separatists. The then President Petro Poroshenko described them as our best warriors.
Azov was founded by Bilatsky, the leader of the Patriot of Ukraine, founded in 2005, and the SNA, founded in 2008. He left Azov in 2014 after being elected to parliament. This was because the elected representatives could not remain in the army. Until 2019, he was an MP. Prior to joining the military, Azov’s ideas were supported financially by wealthy people. They used Nazi symbols such as swastikas.
In 2015, the US and Canada banned Azo from supporting and training him because of his Nazi ties. But the U.S. lifted the ban the following year. In 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a report against them. Representatives of the United States have called on the Biden administration to declare Azov a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). In 2016, Facebook described Azov as a dangerous organization and in 2019 banned Azov’s page. But on February 24, when the Russian occupation began, the Facebook Azov page was restored.
Fighters waiting for death
Russia has blamed Azov militants for destroying Mariupol. Population centers were destroyed and people were used as human shields in war. Russia has accused the government of destroying roads and bridges and blocking the shooting of people who wanted to get out of Mariupol. Russian Senator Andrei Klitschko has said he will not send Azov fighters back to Ukraine to be hailed as war heroes. He called for a trial and the death penalty. People in Ukraine also think that death awaits the Azov group. They think that Russia will kill the Azov fighters to make up for the disappointment of not being able to capture cities including Kyiv.
But the Ukrainian president is optimistic. Hundreds of Russian troops are captured by Ukraine. Selensky hopes that Putin will release Azov’s troops to free them. At the same time, international media outlets, including the BBC, say Russia is unlikely to release Azov troops. It would be a matter of pride for Russia to release these so-called neo-Nazis. Many of the captured soldiers were seriously injured. They do not even know how long they will live. It is estimated that the rest may be eliminated without adequate treatment or some other means.
English Summary: Ukraine’s Azov Battalion surrenders