More than 1,200 volunteers went from Crimea to the war zone, to Ukraine, the head of the republic said. The region helped assemble the “Crimean battalion”
More than 1,200 people, including representatives of the Cossacks, left for Ukraine from Crimea as volunteers to participate in hostilities, the head of the Crimea, Sergei Aksenov, told RBC in an interview.
“What the Crimeans can do in terms of supporting the armed forces, everything is being done. No one needs to be persuaded. We have a common opinion about the support of the president and the goals of the special military operation. Some volunteers came directly through the draft board. Representatives of our Cossacks were gathered, & mdash; Aksenov said.
Aksyonov spoke about the existence of the “Crimean battalion”, which the republic provides assistance. “We fully equipped the Crimean battalion, helped with money and not only. We are sending means of protection, means of communication, means of reconnaissance to the front line, — he said.
According to Aksyonov, he learned about the start of hostilities five minutes after the start of the operation. “That is, as soon as the troops moved, they immediately called me,” — he explained. Aksyonov calls the decision to start hostilities “the only correct one,” explaining that by that moment in the republic they were already expecting a strike from Ukraine. “It was an open secret, no one doubted that an attack was being prepared. And if Ukraine first went to the Donbass, then immediately to the Crimea … It was already clear that we would be attacked in the coming months, as it happened once in 1941, so why tempt fate? said Aksenov.
Aksenov formulated the main goal of military operations as “protection of Russia's national interests.” “The Russian world is returning to historical borders. It has always been Russia. The Bolsheviks artificially Ukrainized Ukraine in the 1930s. Then they divided us artificially, tried to split us up, muddied the waters in this whole situation, and we are disentangling today, — he explains his position. After the goal is achieved, “referendums will continue, everyone will have the opportunity to express their opinion,” says the head of the Crimea.
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Crimea became a Russian region in March 2014, when 96% of local residents voted for secession from Ukraine in a referendum.
On July 16, a representative of the main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vadym Skibitsky called the peninsula “a hub for the movement of all Russian equipment, ammunition and weapons” to the south of Ukraine and threatened to use American HIMARS MLRS against targets in Crimea.