Russian Forces Close to Defeating Ukrainian Nationalist Battalion 'Donbass', Defence Ministry Says
17:24 GMT 20.03.2022 (Updated: 18:24 GMT 20.03.2022)
© Sputnik / Victor AntonyukDPR forces on the T-64 tank
© Sputnik / Victor Antonyuk/
One of the main declared goals of the Russian special operation in Ukraine is to de-Nazify the country. Nationalist groups are the core of the volunteer battalions that have been used by Kiev in its attacks on the Donbass republics since 2014, with many of them being caught committing war crimes.
Russian troops are close to finally defeating Ukraine’s "Donbass" nationalist battalion, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov has stated. He elaborated that up to 60 of the battalion’s fighters were killed, two tanks, while three armoured transports and six pieces of artillery and mortars were destroyed during Russian troops’ push towards Nikolskoye settlement.
Konashenkov added that Russian troops were cooperating with units of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) as they advanced towards Nikolskoye.
On a separate note, chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin has announced that a probe will be carried out to determine whether leaders of the nationalist battalions captured during the operation in the Ukrainian city of Izyum committed any war crimes.
Ukrainian nationalist battalions were formed in the aftermath of the West-backed coup in 2014 to wage war against the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), which declared independence amid fears of oppression of the Russian-speaking population. These battalions largely consisted of members of nationalist and radical groups and were often caught committing war crimes against the local population (including the volunteer "Donbass" battalion).
The new nationalist-minded authorities largely turned a blind eye to these crimes, failing to prosecute even members of the notorious "Tornado" battalion, which was disbanded precisely because of the atrocities it was committing. The war crimes of another notorious battalion, "Aidar", were well documented by the Amnesty International non-profit back in 2014, but none of its members were probed and punished for their deeds.
The de-Nazification of Ukraine is among the two main declared goals of the Russian special operation, which was started by President Vladimir Putin on 24 February. The operation was launched following a request from the DPR and LPR to protect them against attacks by Ukrainian forces.
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