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“I’m a soldier” — Azov Commander, colonel Redis, met with his brigade for the first time after Russian captivity and outlined plans

Denys Prokopenko (callsign Redis), commander of the Azov Regiment
Denys Prokopenko meeting with his soldiers. Photo by Azov brigade.
“I’m a soldier” — Azov Commander, colonel Redis, met with his brigade for the first time after Russian captivity and outlined plans

Ukrainian Colonel Denis Prokopenko (callsign Redis), commander of the Azov brigade, met with his troops on 15 July 2023 for the first time since being released from Russian captivity.

“While in captivity, I said this war won’t end for me until we return our last fighter from captivity and restore Ukraine’s 1991 borders,” Prokopenko told his soldiers. “I’m a soldier. I’m not interested in anything besides military affairs. My heart, soul and body belong to Azov.”

Prokopenko ruled the Azov regiment during the defense of Mariupol in the spring of 2022 for almost three months in total encirclement. Forced to surrender when the ammunition was ending, Redis, together with other commanders and 2000 troops, was taken to Russian captivity on the preliminary agreed terms. He and four other commanders of the Mariupol defense were transferred to Türkiye on 21 September 2022, where they spent almost a year. On 8 July 2023, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy negotiated their release with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Prokopenko’s long-awaited return and direct leadership are expected to boost morale and confidence among the brigade’s troops.

He stressed the need to focus on combat training and replenishing the unit with personnel, equipment, and weapons.

Prokopenko is currently undergoing rehabilitation and will soon resume his duties, the brigade’s press service noted.

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