Russian Volunteers Join Ukrainian Ranks to Oppose Putin’s Troops

by Ryan Lee

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a disheartened Russian citizen, now known as Karabas, made a life-altering decision to confront the situation. Shocked by the distressing images emerging from Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories, Karabas resolved to take action against his own country, even if it meant leaving his homeland behind.

Recognizing the gravity of his decision, he packed his belongings and embarked on a year-long journey to reach Ukraine. Today, he proudly serves as a member of the Siberian Battalion, a military unit comprised of Russians who have enlisted in the Ukrainian armed forces to combat the Russian invaders. Their ultimate goal: to aid in the removal of Russian President Vladimir Putin from power. Interestingly, most of the battalion’s members originate from ethnic minorities residing in Russia’s far eastern regions.

“I was disillusioned with my own people,” Karabas revealed, echoing the sentiments of his fellow battalion fighters. However, he emphasized that his motivation to join the cause was rooted in the desire to fight for a free Ukraine.

When Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Karabas was disheartened by the prevailing sentiments among the Russians he knew. Many either staunchly supported Putin’s actions or remained apathetic to the unfolding war. At times, his grief became overwhelming, leading him to tears.

Distinct from other volunteer units in Ukraine that also include Russian nationals, such as the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps, the Siberian Battalion holds official status within the regular Ukrainian army. Its members undergo extensive security assessments, which can span up to a year, before they receive training and deployment to the front lines in eastern Ukraine, where some of the fiercest fighting has occurred.

Karabas embarked on his journey by traveling to Armenia, where he sought out Ukrainian acquaintances and mastered the Ukrainian language, which he now speaks fluently, steadfastly avoiding the use of his native Russian.

At a recent training exercise near Kyiv, members of the Siberian Battalion practiced their marksmanship skills, firing machine guns amidst the snowy landscape. Fighters from eastern Siberia see a Ukrainian victory as a potential step toward dismantling Moscow’s political control over their impoverished region. Some members of ethnic communities in the area, such as Yakuts and Buryats, cite experiences of racism and oppression in Russia, fueling calls for independence.

One of the battalion’s fighters, known by the call sign Holod, openly expresses his desire for the removal of Putin’s administration, asserting that such a development would mark a true victory. He envisions a Russia that ceases to be a source of sudden aggression.

For Russians like Karabas, the decision to leave behind their entire lives, including family and friends, was born out of necessity. They had to flee to a third country before making their way to Ukraine, as they saw no other option.

Integration into the Ukrainian armed forces proved to be a protracted process. Their documents underwent rigorous scrutiny, and upon arrival in Ukraine, they faced extensive questioning. The Siberian Battalion, which currently numbers only a few dozen, was established six months ago. Ukrainian military leaders anticipate further enlistments, with the aim of expanding the battalion to a 300-member strong unit of Russian fighters.

Some members of the battalion have already been deployed near Avdiivka, a city in the Donetsk region under Ukrainian control, which has been a focal point of Putin’s forces’ efforts to overrun.

Karabas believes that there are potentially tens or even hundreds of thousands of Russians like him, willing to stand alongside Ukraine in its struggle. He envisions a more substantial presence of Russian fighters in the ranks, emphasizing the importance of their contribution to the cause.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Volunteers

Q: Who are the Russian volunteers mentioned in the text?

A: The Russian volunteers are individuals from Russia who have chosen to leave their homeland and join the ranks of the Ukrainian armed forces to oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Q: What motivated these Russian volunteers to join the Ukrainian forces?

A: Many of these volunteers were dismayed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and were shocked by the images of the situation in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories. They joined the Ukrainian forces out of a desire to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom and to help remove Russian President Vladimir Putin from power.

Q: How do these Russian volunteers become part of the Siberian Battalion?

A: Joining the Siberian Battalion is an official process within the regular Ukrainian army. Russian volunteers undergo lengthy security checks that can take up to a year before they receive training and are deployed to the front lines in eastern Ukraine.

Q: What distinguishes the Siberian Battalion from other volunteer units in Ukraine?

A: Unlike other volunteer units, the Siberian Battalion is officially integrated into the regular Ukrainian army. This means that its members go through a thorough screening process and receive formal training before deployment.

Q: What is the ultimate goal of these Russian volunteers in the Siberian Battalion?

A: The primary goal of the Russian volunteers in the Siberian Battalion is to support Ukraine in its struggle against Russian invasion and, in the long term, to contribute to the removal of Russian President Vladimir Putin from power.

Q: How do these volunteers prepare for their service in Ukraine?

A: Some volunteers, like Karabas, travel to a third country, such as Armenia, where they learn the Ukrainian language and seek out Ukrainian acquaintances. This preparation helps them integrate into the Ukrainian forces more effectively.

Q: What impact do these Russian volunteers hope to achieve by fighting with Ukraine?

A: The volunteers from the Siberian Battalion hope that their contribution to a Ukrainian victory will help reduce Moscow’s political control over their impoverished regions and address issues of racism and oppression faced by ethnic communities in Russia’s far east.

Q: Are there plans to expand the Siberian Battalion with more Russian fighters?

A: Yes, Ukrainian military leaders are hopeful that more Russian volunteers will join the Siberian Battalion. Based on incoming applications, they aim to grow the battalion to a 300-member strong unit.

Q: Where have some members of the Siberian Battalion been deployed?

A: Some members of the Siberian Battalion have been deployed near Avdiivka, a city in the Donetsk region of Ukraine that has been a focal point of conflict where Ukrainian and Russian forces are engaged in a battle for control.

More about Volunteers

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CarFinancePro December 16, 2023 - 12:30 pm

this story show how war can make people make drastic choices.

JournalistExpert22 December 16, 2023 - 12:39 pm

russian volunteers join ukrainian forces in tough fight against putins troops, this is serious stuff!

CryptoPoliticEcon December 16, 2023 - 9:05 pm

so these guys just up and left russia to help ukraine? wow, dedication.

EconFactsFan December 16, 2023 - 10:50 pm

siberian battalion fighting russian forces, intense!

CryptoWhiz December 17, 2023 - 5:47 am

Putin’s troops in ukraine, real crisis. Respect for those who stand up!


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