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Azov Brigade, Putin calls us Nazis, excuse for the massacres

Azov Brigade chief to ANSA: 'Aim is save Ukraine and integrity

28 March, 00:09

By Michele Esposito

(ANSA) - TRIESTE, 28 MAR - "Putin calls us Nazis as a pretext to kill Ukrainians. Our aim is to save Ukraine, its unity and integrity".

Maksym Zhorin is the third commander of the notorious Azov Brigade. Thirty-three years old, originally from the Donbass, Zhorin operates with about two thousand soldiers in the Kiev area and from there, in an interview with ANSA, explains his version of the regiment that since the beginning of the conflict has been one of the targets of the 'denazification' operation announced by the Kremlin to justify the invasion of Ukraine.

"Right now I am in Irpin and in the last few days the possibilities of an attack by Russia have gradually decreased.

We have already destroyed some Russian tanks, a lot of their equipment, and we threw everything into the river. Now they are there, together with the fish," explains Zhorin, who appears in the video interview wearing the traditional uniform of the Azov brigade, including the coat of arms that refers to the Wolfsangel, the Germanic symbol also used by the Nazis.

"But this definition is just a tool of Putin's propaganda, there is no link between us and any Nazi or fascist movement,' he says. The Brigade is a child of the 2014 Maidan Square revolution and has one of its historical headquarters in the city of Mariupol. However, the commander explains, "since the war began our units have been present in all the main cities of the country, such as Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Odessa". Zhorin, originally from Lugansk Oblast, bluntly rejects Moscow's alleged attempt to hold a referendum to annex Donbass. "I lived there for 18 years, I know the truth. If there is ever a referendum, it will be fake, Putin will count the votes he needs," he stressed.

And speaking of the martyred city of Mariupol, there where the Azov regiment in 2014 was decisive in the expulsion of the Russians, Zhorin shows cautious optimism. "Few people live in the city now, but it is under Ukrainian control. When we won in 2014 it was an embarrassment for Putin and now this could happen again," he explains. In 2014 Zhorin was in Mariupol fighting and the liberation of the city also decreed the start of his rapid military career, under the aegis of leader Andriy Biletsky.

Since 2017 he has also entered politics by joining the nationalist National Corps party, of which he now holds the position of Chief of Staff. Relations between the Azov Brigade and European public opinion are turbulent, to say the least.

Yet, more than a month into the war, even Zhorin admits that Western military aid could be of use to Ukraine, especially since Western weapons and equipment are far more advanced than Russian ones. "Yes, Europe's help would be essential now.

Russian soldiers are stupid and use Soviet-era weapons. And Europe could also help us in gathering logistical information, starting with what is happening in Mariupol,' Zhorin explains.

And in his words, a fact emerges: Putin already appears defeated. "He wanted to use his propaganda against us and with the aim of taking over Ukraine in two days,' he notes, 'but his propaganda was weak. Putin wanted to divide us and the effect was to unite us. Now every Ukrainian is an Azov. (ANSA).

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