Aksyonov’s private armies. How Russian-occupied Crimea is preparing for a Ukrainian counteroffensive
Thursday, May 25, 2023 - 11:17 (EEST)
Tavryda, Sevastopol, and Black Sea Cossack Host Livadiya, Konvoy, and ex-Wagner soldier Money, training, weapons Territorial Defense Forces and other combat groups They understand that there will be fighting in Crimea “Maybe Ukraine will be here again,” that’s what residents of the occupied Crimea said to Ukrainska Pravda (news outlet) last autumn when the talk was about a possible counterattack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. There is unrest on the peninsula. The occupying authorities increasingly complain about explosions and attacks by Ukrainian drones, while the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine promises that in 2023 our army will enter Crimea. The rhetoric of “no panic” directly contradicts the actions of the so-called “head” of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov. He actively builds fortifications and creates private armies to send soldiers to war and protect the occupied administrations and local businesses. To date, he has established two volunteer battalions on the peninsula: Tavryda and Livadiya. Both are focused on important directions for Russian troops — Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, which lead to the annexed Crimea. Russian propagandists have already baptized the combat wing as Aksyonov’s military personnel. The majority of them are closely associated with Russian Cossacks, security structures, and took part in the annexation of the peninsula in 2014. This article reveals more details about private armies. Tavryda, Sevastopol, and Black Sea Cossack Host The Tavryda Battalion is a unit of Russian Cossacks. It operates under the leadership of the assistant to the “head” of Crimea and the ataman of the Black Sea Cossack Host, Anton Syrotkin. Prior to 2014, Syrotkin was a member of Sergey Aksyonov’s party, Russian Unity, actively supporting the annexation of the peninsula by the Russian Federation and organizing self-defense groups. Since 2014, he has been a member of the United Russia party and was elected to the Simferopol City Council. In 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed him as the head of the Black Sea Cossack Host, by his decree. His deputy and commander of the reconnaissance unit of the “forces” is Andriy Dolzhenko. In an interview with Russian propagandists, Dolzhenko revealed that he was personally invited to the position by Syrotkin, citing his combat experience. “Since I have been serving as a volunteer in Donbas since 2014, I had many comrades with military and reconnaissance experience, so we quickly coped with the assigned task and created...