Moscow continues to prepare mercenaries for Ukraine

This camp for the preparation of mercenaries for Russia's war in Ukraine also had a group of school age youths. The camp is located in the territory of a Russian Orthodox monastery near the city of Chernogolovka near Moscow. September 2015. (Image: ENOT Corp.)

This camp for the preparation of mercenaries for Russia's war in Ukraine also had a group of school age youths. The camp is located in the territory of a Russian Orthodox monastery near the city of Chernogolovka near Moscow. September 2015. (Image: ENOT Corp.) 

2015/10/13 • Analysis & Opinion, Military analysis, Russia, War in the Donbas

Although the ceasefire in the Donbas appears to be holding for now and although the world’s attention has shifted from Ukraine to Syria and the EU refugee crisis, Moscow continues to openly prepare mercenaries for the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” in camps around the country.

But as disturbing as this reality is for Ukraine, it may be a threat to Russia itself because among the instructors in these camps are not only veterans of the war in Ukraine but also Russian neo-Nazis and other national extremists, according to illustrated stories the organizers have posted online.

Recruiting poster for the mercenary training camp located in the territory of a Russian Orthodox monastery near the city of Chernogolovka near Moscow. September 2015. (Image: ENOT Corp.)

Recruiting poster for the mercenary training camp located in the territory of a Russian Orthodox monastery near the city of Chernogolovka near Moscow. September 2015. (Image: ENOT Corp.)

And lest anyone think that these camps are simply a holdover from the period of the most intense Russian aggression against Ukraine, it should be pointed out that the last intake of recruits to one of them near Moscow occurred not months ago but on September 26-27, 2015, and involved some 300 young men, according to their organizers.

In his report for Vlada.io, Denis Kazansky reproduces pictures offered by the organizers of these camps as well as summarizing what they say on their websites. Both the pictures and the declarations of the militants are frightening not only for Ukrainians but also for Russians concerned about their future.

“In Russia,” Kazansky writes, “camps for the preparation of mercenaries of the DNR and LNR openly operate and in which the terrorists train themselves and also instruct in the art of war youths of school age,” with courses on using weapons and killing Ukrainians. Some of these camps are situated “not far from the Russian capital.”

These training centers clearly enjoy the support of at least some in the Moscow Patriarchate – priests are shown blessing the once and future combatants – and they could not be functioning without the knowledge and almost certainly the approval of at least some elements of the Russian government.

  • At a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
    At a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
  • At a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
    At a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
  • A school age child at a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
    A school age child at a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
  • School age children at a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
    School age children at a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
  • Sniper training was provided as well at one of the mercenary training camps for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
    Sniper training was provided as well at one of the mercenary training camps for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
  • At a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
    At a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
  • At a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
    At a mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
  • The instructors and trainees of the mercenary camp were "blessed" by a Russian Orthodox monk from the monastery in whose territory the camp is located. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp)
    The instructors and trainees of the mercenary camp were "blessed" by a Russian Orthodox monk from the monastery in whose territory the camp is located. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp)

What is especially disturbing is the participation as instructors of fighters who display openly racist and neo-Nazi views, views that threaten Ukrainians whom the inductees are trained to hate as well as Russians who may not share their views and against whom such militants might be used in the future.

  • A prominent Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Milchakov (right) instructing at the mercenary camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
    A prominent Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Milchakov (right) instructing at the mercenary camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
  • A prominent Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Milchakov instructing trainees at the mercenary camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
    A prominent Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Milchakov instructing trainees at the mercenary camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
  • A prominent Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Milchakov (right) with other instructors at the mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
    A prominent Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Milchakov (right) with other instructors at the mercenary training camp for Russia's war in Ukraine. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp.)
  • Russian neo-Nazi mercenary Alexey Milchakov photographed next to the corpse of a tortured Ukrainian soldier after an ambush on his vehicle. Donbas, Ukraine (Image: Milchakov's social network page)
    Russian neo-Nazi mercenary Alexey Milchakov photographed next to the corpse of a tortured Ukrainian soldier after an ambush on his vehicle. Donbas, Ukraine (Image: Milchakov's social network page)
  • Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Milchakov with a Nazist swastika flag (Image: Milchakov's social network page)
    Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Milchakov with a Nazist swastika flag (Image: Milchakov's social network page)

The existence of these camps and the fact that they operate entirely openly suggests that Moscow wants to have a reliable source of cadres in the event it renews its military aggression in Ukraine and that some in Moscow want to make sure that they have the ability to push Russia in the direction they want, by force if necessary.

  • Aleksandr Boroday (center), one of the organizers and and a former top official of the Russian occupation of the eastern Ukraine, visited the mercenary training camp in Chernogolovka and took numerous photographs with its participants. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp)
    Aleksandr Boroday (center), one of the organizers and and a former top official of the Russian occupation of the eastern Ukraine, visited the mercenary training camp in Chernogolovka and took numerous photographs with its participants. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp)
  • Aleksandr Boroday (center, in blue t-shirt), one of the organizers and and a former top official of the Russian occupation of the eastern Ukraine, visited the mercenary training camp in Chernogolovka and took numerous photographs with its participants. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp)
    Aleksandr Boroday (center, in blue t-shirt), one of the organizers and and a former top official of the Russian occupation of the eastern Ukraine, visited the mercenary training camp in Chernogolovka and took numerous photographs with its participants. Moscow oblast, Russia, September 2015 (Image: ENOT Corp)

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Dirk Smith

    Terrorists. Nothing more.

  • Lev Havryliv

    This lull in fighting in the Donbas should not make us think that Putin has given up on further military aggression against Ukraine.

    Putin is obsessed with destroying Ukraine as a national entity. He is a Russian chauvinist and imperialist to the core.

    He wants to be remembered by history as the glorious Russian leader who subjugates Ukraine.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Agreed. Anybody who thinks the demented dwarf has suddenly given up on his obsession of recreating the USSR should wake up. He fails to understand that through his own stupidity he has ruined any chance of rapprochement with the Ukrainians for decades, perhaps forever.
      Syria is a distraction, if the dwarf is forced to choose between supporting Assad or destroying an independent Ukraine then he will drop Assad in a flash. Lukashenko can’t rest easy either.