Azov Battalion founder Andrei Biletsky said Thursday that the paramilitary regiment he commands has officially become a separate brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

“The Azov Battalion is now a Third Assault Brigade separate from the ground forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Our path begins in the most difficult direction – in Bakhmut,” Biletski said in his Telegram account.

“The decisive battle in this war is yet to come,” said Biletski, who said that the military command had imposed “new responsibilities” on them and that “Russian warriors” and other fighters under Moscow’s orders would have to “invent fables and legends” about the war.

“We are preparing a lot of surprises for them. It will definitely be a warm winter for them,” wrote Biletski, who promised that the battalion’s “evolution” within the Ukrainian Armed Forces “will continue.”

“From now on, we are the third separate assault brigade of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Our flags symbolize the durability of the traditions of the Ukrainian state: from the time of the princes, through the Cossack period, the first liberation struggles until today,” reads the message written by them in their latest video posted on their YouTube channel.

For his part, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeri Zaluzhni, celebrated shortly afterwards that the regiment’s entry as a full brigade into the army is a continuation of its “glorious fighting tradition.”

“Today, each military unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is writing its own history and the victorious history of our country,” Zaluzhni wrote in his Telegram profile.

“Examples of heroism and martial brotherhood, emblems and flags, training and combat courage, indomitable spirit and will – all this forms the code of the Warrior Nation,” he stressed.

The presence of this battalion and its government status as a reservist regiment have been controversial due to the origins of many of its leaders, known as white supremacists, such as Andrei Biletsky, who has served Moscow’s alleged crusade to “denazify” Ukraine.

The battalion was born as a resistance movement in 2014 against pro-Russian forces in the Donbas region. Recognized as a terrorist organization by the Russian Supreme Court, this paramilitary squad actively participated in the battle of Mariupol, but eventually fell despite attempts to resist on the premises of the Azovstal steel plant.

Source: (EUROPA PRESS) *** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI team ***

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