A boycott by a group of Russian mercenaries against the Kremlin helped Ukraine retake a key city

A Ukrainian military man operates an FPV drone from his positions on a front line near the town of Robotyne (REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi) (VIACHESLAV RATYNSKYI/)

The decision of a Russian neo-Nazi mercenary group to stop fighting protest at the Kremlin’s inaction to save their leader may have helped Ukraine to achieve a major breakthrough on the front line.

On Sunday, Ukraine announced the seizure of the village of robotynein the south of the country, a “strategic” point that opens a path for kyiv’s counteroffensive to advance towards the southern territories that are occupied by the Russian army.

The reconquest of the city occurred after the paramilitary group “rusich” said laid down his arms in protest of the Kremlin’s refusal to do more to avoid arrest and possible extradition of one of its leaders to Ukraine, according to messages broadcast on the Telegram application.

Rusich said that his leader yan petrovsky (also known by the name of Voislav Torden) was arrested last month while trying to pass through Helsinki airport and that Russian diplomats have ignored their pleas for help. Petrovsky has been accused of war crimes and the Ukrainian authorities want to put him on trial.

Voislav Torden
Yan Petrovsky is a Rusich militia commander with ties to the Wagner mercenary army (Voislav Torden Social Media)

“Rusich stops carrying out any combat mission,” he said on his Telegram channel in messages collected by The Telegraph. “If a country cannot protect its citizens, why should the citizens defend the country?”

rusich was created in 2014 and is openly pro-Nazi. He has fought in Syriain conflicts in Africa and in Ukraine. He has been implicated in the torture and mistreatment of Ukrainian prisoners, according to the intelligence group molfarand one of its leaders, Alexsey Milkachevfilmed himself killing a puppy and biting its head off in 2014.

The mercenary group has criticized the management of the Russian Ministry of Defense in its invasion of Ukraine and, although it was not directly involved, supported Wagner’s failed rebellion against the Kremlin in June.

Voislav Torden
Yan Petrovsky with mercenaries from his group (Social networks Voislav Torden)

The impact of the “strike” of the mercenaries

Jeff Hawnmember of the think tank New Lines Institutebased in Washington DC, told French 24 that “it is very possible” that the decision of the mercenary group to lay down their arms contributed to the fall of robotyne.

Analysts said it was likely that fighters from the group rusich they would have positioned themselves in robotynelending credence to the claim that the protest may have destabilized Russian defenses.

“The Rusich Group accused the Russian government of breaching its obligation to protect Russians abroad by failing to secure Petrovsky’s release sooner, and asked why Rusich staff should protect Russia if the Russian government does not protect Russians abroad. Russians,” said the Institute for the Study of Wara think tank based in Washington DC, in its daily report on the conflict on August 28. “The Rusich Group indicated that it is likely to be operating on the line Robotyne-Verbove in western Zaporizhia Oblast, a critical area of ​​the front line where the russian military command probably cannot afford any unit to rebel and refuses to carry out combat missions.”

A Ukrainian soldier walks near a destroyed Ukrainian tank near the town of Robotyne (REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi)
A Ukrainian soldier walks near a destroyed Ukrainian tank near the town of Robotyne (REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi) (VIACHESLAV RATYNSKYI/)

Analysts say Russian forces are suffering from low morale and internal divisions, made worse by Wagner’s failed rebellion and the subsequent death in a freak plane crash of their leader. Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The importance of Robotyne

Unlike other towns recovered more easily in this counteroffensivewhich began in early June, fighting in robotyne lasted about three weeks, in which Russia used a large number of troops to defend it, something that demonstrated its importance.

According to numerous analysts, the reconquest of Robotyne is a key step forward for the Ukrainian aspirations to reach the Sea of Azov and split the front line in two to isolate the occupying Russian troops in crimea and Kherson.

Ukrainian soldiers from the 'Skala' Separate Assault Battalion enter the village of Robotyne (Reuters)
Ukrainian soldiers from the Separate Assault Battalion ‘Skala’ enter the village of Robotyne (Reuters) (‘SKALA’ OF THE UKRAINIAN ARMED F/)

This would mean leaving the Russian troops in crimea and KhersonWest of Zaporizhzhyawith no more communication with the rest of the Ukrainian territories controlled by Moscow and with the Russian Federation than the Kerch bridge that connects Crimea with Russia.

In an article for the European Center for Political Analysis (CEPA), the professor at the United States Military Academy Jan Kallberg claimed that Ukraine does not need to physically reach the Sea of ​​Azov to achieve this.

According to the analyst, Kiev would only have to advance another 16 kilometers to bring the land route used by Russia to deliver supplies to Crimea and Kherson under fire.

This Monday, Ukraine claimed that his troops made a limited advance on the southern front, near Novodanilivka and of Novoprokopivkaand that also recovered territory near the town of Bakhmutin the East.