Russian forces take out Ukrainian nationalists – Moscow

EMERGENCY DIGEST- Russian forces have reportedly conducted a series of precision artillery strikes on several military targets in eastern Ukraine, including the base of the Kraken nationalist battalion, according to the latest daily report published by Russia’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday.

Over one hundred Kraken fighters were neutralized, near the city of Kharkov, as a result of artillery strikes on Wednesday, according to the report, as well as ten armored vehicles. The ministry added that high-precision missile strikes also took out a number of command bases in the region, including a foreign mercenary training center, as well as ammunition depots and repair bases.

The ministry noted that, after suffering significant casualties, leaders of the Kraken unit ordered its forces to abandon their positions and retreat to the city of Kharkov.

The Kraken unit is considered by Russia’s Defense Ministry to be a nationalist fighting force and an offshoot of the notorious neo-Nazi Azov regiment, which recently suffered a crushing defeat in the city of Mariupol. Kraken designates itself as a special reconnaissance and sabotage unit under the Ministry of Defense, operating separately from the Armed forces of Ukraine.

While there is no official information on exactly how many fighters are part of this battalion, some sources believe that the unit has about 1,800 soldiers and primarily consists of Azov veterans and volunteers, many of whom come from ultranationalist and far-right backgrounds.

Russia has accused the battalion of committing several war crimes since the start of its ongoing military operation in Ukraine, as Kraken unit fighters have reportedly been responsible for brutally mistreating Russian POWs, as shown on video.

The Kraken unit’s leader, Konstantin Nemichev – a former Azov commander who unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Kharkov last year – was placed on a Russia’s most wanted list last month for “threatening the lives of at least eight Russian servicemen on the territory of the Kharkov region.”

The head of Russia’s National Defense Control Center, Mikhail Mizintsev, has also accused Kraken members of harassing Kharkov region residents and accused them of conducting “punitive raids” against people suspected of harboring pro-Russian sentiments.

“Militants of the nationalist unit Kraken, comprised mainly of radicals and rapists and murderers released from prisons, conduct punitive raids in the Kharkov Region, during which the so-called death squads at night break into the houses of local residents that are suspected by the SBU of pro-Russian sentiments, subject them to physical violence and take them away to unknown locations,” he said.

Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry warned Kraken was attempting to mine a Kharkov children’s hospital full of patients and doctors with the intention to blow it up once Russian forces started attacking military targets in the city. Mizintsev also added that reporters from foreign news outlets like CNN had already arrived to several cities across Ukraine to film terrorist acts on civilian infrastructure, which will then be blamed on Russian forces.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.