Ex-Russian Officer Defects to Ukraine to Fight ‘Enemies of My Homeland’

This screengrab shows Vladyslav Ammosov, a former Russian army officer from Yakutsk, giving an interview given to Radio Free Europe. He said he has changed sides to Ukraine and is looking to set up a Siberian battalion to fight against Vladimir Putin’s troops.SCREEN GRAB VIA YOUTUBE

Aformer officer in the Russian Army has switched sides to Ukraine and pledged to create a battalion that will fight against Vladimir Putin‘s forces.

Vladislav Ammosov spent 15 years in the Russian armed forces and served as an officer in Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate, the GRU.

Hailing from the far-flung Siberian city of Yakutsk, Ammosov has now told U.S. government-funded outlet Radio Free Europe that he was in the final stages of creating a volunteer military unit called the “Siberian Battalion.”

“The enemies of my homeland are those who currently support this Putin government,” he said. He is prepared to be part of “a sabotage and reconnaissance group to go into Russian territory and destroy enemies there.”

He admitted that he had previously been taken in by Russian propaganda and been trained “to destroy entire countries.”

A participant in the Second Chechen War, he said he had been swayed by how people in the predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s Caucasus had fought hard for their freedom against Moscow’s troops.

He said that he had left Russian military service by the time Putin had illegally annexed Crimea in 2014. Following Putin’s full-scale invasion in 2022, he came to Kyiv through the Civil Council in Poland, which recruits volunteers to fight for Ukraine.

Radio Free Europe reported that Ammosov had been vetted by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and his story had been confirmed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

“Russia spares no one, especially its own people,” Ammosov told the outlet. “I finally realized that we are slaves to the system created by Putin and his clique. I had no choice but to free myself from it.”

Ammasov’s interview was reported by Ukrainian media and sparked praise among users of YouTube. As of Tuesday, it had been viewed more than 924,000 times.

One user described him as someone “who opened his eyes to reality.” Another commenter described him as a “principled” officer, adding that “we are obliged to help people like him, and other Russians who are swayed by “common sense” rather than “propaganda.”

Another of the more than 1,100 comments described him as a “real officer,” adding that “the concepts of dignity and honor are not just words for him. It is a pity that there are so few of them in Russia.”

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, many Russians have taken up arms against their country. The Free Russia Legion was formed in March 2022 and initially included soldiers who had defected from the Russian military, according to Kyiv.

In its manifesto statement from April 2022, it called on “every free Russian, wherever you are, to join our fight” against Putin. 

Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry for comment.


  1. Vladyslav Ammosov understands what most other native people in mafia land don’t; that Vlad the Impaler is committing genocide not only against Ukraine, but against its own minorities.

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