The Times: Freedom of Russia opposition organization is recruiting Russians to storm Moscow - ForumDaily
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The Times: Opposition organization 'Freedom of Russia' recruits Russians to storm Moscow

The Free Russia Legion, together with the Russian Volunteer Corps, in which the Russians are fighting on the side of Ukraine, attempted to “liberate” two Russian villages on May 22, causing panic in the Kremlin, reports The Times.

Photo: IStock

The Russian rebels fighting the Kremlin have "thousands" willing to join their ranks, their commander says, and they plan to keep pushing into their homeland until they can take Moscow by storm.

What is this organization

On the Online Legion "Free Russia" is indicated that they are a unit of Russians, which is officially recognized by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“We are fighting in full cooperation with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and under the leadership of the Ukrainian command,” the website says. “The Legion consists of the Combat Wing, which, with arms in hand, fights together with the Ukrainian army and the All-People’s Movement – ​​these are people on the territory of Russia and all over the world, united by the values ​​of Freedom.”

The Free Russia Legion was created in the spring of 2022 “based on the desire of the Russians themselves to fight against Putin’s armed gang in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” according to the website. From the end of spring to the end of summer, the Legion fought in the format of small battle groups. In August, all legal issues, as well as security components, were formed and the mass registration of willing Russians began. At the moment, the Legionnaires are performing tasks in different directions, including one of the most intense - the Bakhmut direction.

“Contrary to the Kremlin agenda, our enemy is not Ukraine. Our enemy is thieves, murderers and war criminals in power in Russia who unleashed a brutal war for their own benefit, the website says. – Therefore, after the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from all over Ukraine, we plan to go to the Kremlin and disperse this gang of murderers and marauders. And then to build a new Free Russia.”

“We are aware that Russia under Putin is a state that has lost everything: from the budget in the treasury to freedom of speech. But there are still people who want to stop the killings and repressions against ordinary Russians, stop the torture of the FSB, silence pro-Kremlin propagandists and return truth, justice and the spirit of freedom to Russia. We call on all concerned Russians to join us in our fight for a Free Russia,” the organization says.

How events developed

On May 22, together with the Russian Volunteer Corps, the Free Russia Legion crossed the Russian border and made an attempt to “liberate” the villages of Kozinka and Gora-Podol in the Belgorod Region, reports Express.

The Kremlin was quick to accuse Ukraine of committing terrorist acts in Russia, although Ukraine denied that it was in charge of these actions.

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Fierce fighting took place, followed by several drone strikes. The Russian border guards were reportedly overwhelmed by the surprise attack.

Two members of the Legion said they lost a couple of soldiers, ten were wounded, but mostly returned to their bases in Ukraine unharmed. Later, they published photos of their soldiers in Ukraine during a briefing after the storming of the border, along with the Russian Volunteer Corps.

The goal is to liberate Ukraine, and then Moscow

Just over a week after their latest attack on Russia's Belgorod region, which borders northeastern Ukraine, the Free Russia Legion said they have every intention of continuing their insurgency and developing "serious capabilities."

The group, made up of Russian soldiers and volunteers, is determined to use force to first support the withdrawal of Putin's soldiers from Ukraine and then quickly topple the Russian president.

Free Russia Legion commander Maximilian Andronikov, known by the codename “Caesar,” said his unit had “mortars, armored vehicles, Stinger MANPADS, man-portable anti-tank systems and a highly effective reconnaissance drone” ready for combat.

The Free Russia Legion has a battalion strength, he said, but plans to expand as more Russians realize they can fight Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and win.Ukrainian Truth».

A battalion usually consists of 500-1000 troops.

Andronikov, a 49-year-old former fitness instructor, told The Times they plan to "continue to carry out harassment raids" in Russia to encourage other Russians to join their ranks.

“We will continue these raids until we get our own piece of Russian territory so that real Russian sons and daughters, real patriots, can join us. Once this happens, we will quickly increase our strength and numbers, and this will end the Kremlin campaign,” he said.

Caesar joked that the weapons for his unit were purchased from AliExpress and eBay online stores, as well as from Russian military stores.

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On May 29, seven days after their last attack on Russian territory, they made another appeal to the Russian people to join them. A statement on their Telegram read: “We call on all leaders of the opposition movements to unite. Anyone who is ready to act and fight. Support the combat units of the Russian opposition.”

Caesar emphasized that all members of his unit are Russian citizens, but acknowledged that they served in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces: “We are not a gang of criminals or a private military company like Wagner. We are fighting as part of the Ukrainian armed forces. Our main goal and objectives are the protection of Ukraine and the de-occupation of its territories. After that, we will go to vacate our house.”

He added that the raid on Russian territory was intended to support Ukraine's planned counter-offensive while acting as a recruiting campaign and encouraging the Russians to overthrow Putin before war came to them.

According to him, Russians enter Ukraine through certain neutral border states: “We have a constant stream of recruits, and it is growing. More and more Russians understand that this war is criminal and must be stopped.”

Aleksey Baranovsky, a spokesman for the legion's political wing, told The Times that the legion is "a politically neutral organization with no ideological stance. Its only task is to overthrow the Putin regime.”

According to him, the legion is biding its time: “We are not saying that tomorrow we will be in Moscow. This will happen when the Ukrainian armed forces liberate Crimea. Putin's political system will be paralyzed by defeat in Crimea. It is then that we will need to deliver a crushing blow to Moscow. This is what we are preparing for."

In a self-proclaimed "manifesto," the Legion describes itself as opposing the "tyrannical regime" of Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of turning their country into "a pariah, like Iran or North Korea."

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They claim that Putin "killed and continues to kill free Russians who are fighting against the dictatorial regime for the right to live freely, and continues to kill thousands of civilians and hundreds of children in Ukraine."

The Supreme Court of Russia recognized the Free Russia Legion as a terrorist organization.

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