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TOPIC: russian defectors

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

"And If We Must Kill Our Countrymen" — Meet The Russian Defectors Fighting For Ukraine

The Freedom of Russia Legion consists of Russian army defectors who are fighting against their homeland, outraged that Vladimir Putin has destroyed the moral standing of Russia by invading its neighbor. Still, it's a delicate "double-life" on the front line.

BAKHMUT — The Freedom of Russia Legion has existed for just over a year, but it already has the Kremlin's attention. It's a legion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, fighting against Russia, made up entirely of Russian army defectors, as well as other Russian and Belarusian volunteers.

During that time, Russian media repeatedly questioned whether the Legion's fighters actually participated in combat operations, though it was confirmed in February by a a reporter from The New York Times.

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Then last month, Russian propaganda dubbed the Legion a "media project," and the Russian Supreme Court declared it a terrorist organization. And yet, the Legion's fighters are now fighting in Bakhmut, the sight of some of the fiercest battles since the start of the invasion.

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