Commander Kandalaksha (a code name) leads a unit fighting against Russia as the larger and wealthier country continues on its mission to annex Ukraine in the same way it did Crimea in 2014. Unlike many of his fellow soldiers, however, Kandalaksha isn’t Ukrainian. He’s Russian.
"Kandalaksha is something of an anomaly. He is from Russia, and describes himself as a political refugee. He left his homeland in 2014 when Moscow annexed Crimea and began supporting a separatist war in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk."https://t.co/JGPFtJbG1V
— @JötunnLoki 🇨🇦🇵🇱🇺🇦 (@JtunnLoki1) May 28, 2022
Kandalaksha refers to himself as a “political refugee” who opposes the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, having left his home country in 2014 as a result of his country’s invasion of Crimea and worked as a political activist. Soon after, Kandalaksha joined fighting in Luhansk and Donetsk, two eastern regions of Ukraine, upon leaving Russia. Now, he fights against Putin’s soldiers.
According to The New York Times:
‘The commander…leads a volunteer unit camped out in the hills of eastern Ukraine. For two months the unit has been holding part of the line south of the city of Izium, blocking a Russian offensive to encircle and seize the eastern Donbas region.’
Having decided there was no better way to oppose Putin and his band of oligarchs bents on world power, Kandalaksha says the decision to support the enemies of his home country was a sound one. While the Russian military continues its attack, Kandalaksha uses his considerable skills to beat them back.
‘I was fighting the Putin regime and I understood the hottest place to fight against the Putin regime was in Ukraine.’
Originally, Kandalaksha intended to continue his work as an activist, but felt that he had another role to play as Putin grew more bold. He fought in the capitol city of Kyiv at the beginning of the invasion.
‘Soon after arriving in Ukraine he took a step beyond political activism and joined a volunteer military unit in 2015. “I was searching myself and I looked for a way to be useful,” he said. “I thought it would be most honest to go to fight for the country.” When Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, he volunteered again and fought in the northwestern suburbs of the capital, Kyiv, for a month. Then as Russia withdrew from Kyiv and concentrated its forces on the battle for the Donbas, his unit was also sent east.’