- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

'Mariupol is Ukraine': Video of Kid With Rifle Standing Against Neo-Nazi Banner Circulates Online

© Sputnik / Alexander Maksimenko / Go to the mediabankAzov battalion fighters in Kiev
Azov battalion fighters in Kiev - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.03.2022
Amid Russia’s operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine, Kiev authorities have resorted to drastic measures such as freeing criminals, including murderers, from prison, while tens of thousands of military weapons have been distributed among civilians who are being urged to confront Russian tanks with Molotov cocktails.
A video showing a boy, claiming to be eight years old, brandishing a rifle while saying that his father is a "defender of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol" is circulating online amid the ongoing attempts to evacuate civlians from the city.
The southeast Ukrainian city currently has a major concentration of troops belonging to the Azov Regiment –a neo-Nazi volunteer unit of the Ukrainian National Guard.
In the footage, the youngster calls on all Ukrainians and Europeans to help defend the city. He urges that weapons be sent to Ukraine and the sky be closed
“Mariupol is Ukraine, and Ukraine is me,” pipes up the boy.
The kid is filmed standing against a banner of the Azov regiment, originally a volunteer militia group formed in May 2014 shortly after the coup in Kiev.
Azov fighters took part in subsequent hostilities in Donbass, with the then-battalion subsequently incorporated into the National Guard of Ukraine in November 2014. The logo echoes the Wolfsangel, one of the symbols used by the 2nd SS Panzer Division of the Waffen – SS.
However, Azov members reject this, insisting their symbol is an abbreviation for the slogan "National Idea" in Ukrainian.
Shortly before Moscow began its operation to de-Nazify Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Russians in their native tongue, rejecting claims that his country was supporting Nazism.
“But how can a people that lost more than eight million lives in the fight against Nazism support it?” he queried.
Zelensky noted that both the Kiev authorities and the people of Ukraine wanted peace, and are "supported by many countries."
Nationalists of the Azov Battalion. - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.03.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Why is the West Silent About Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Movements, Azov Battalion, & Bandera Legacy?
Mariupol was completely surrounded by Russian and DPR forces last week, with Ukrainian control reduced to a narrow strip along the coast of the Sea of Azov.
DPR People's Militia in a tank ride along the street of the village of Bugas.
 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.03.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Russian MoD: Ukrainian Nationalists Used 150 Civilians in Mariupol as Human Shields
On Monday, Russian MoD Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Ukrainian nationalist units in Mariupol had used over 150 civilians as a "human shield" and prevented the evacuation efforts.
This comes as Ukraine’s increasingly crippled armed forces are set to be boosted by “guns for hire." Zelensky earlier boasted that 16,000 foreigners were headed to his country to fight in his volunteer "International Legion."
Furthermore, the Ukrainian government has handed out military weapons to civilians and freed violent criminals from jail to reinforce its troops. To date, tens of thousands of military weapons have been distributed among civilians urged to confront Russian tanks with Molotov cocktails.
Russia has repeatedly warned that its operation targets only Ukrainian military infrastructure with precision strikes, while nothing threatens the civilian population. However, Russian authorities have warned Kiev that reports of arriving foreign mercenaries and randomly distributed weapons to freed prisoners and civilians presents a potent source of further bloodshed and chaos.
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