More South Ossetian servicemen have left to participate in Russia’s war against Ukraine, Tskhinvali-based RES news agency reported on March 26.
“They understand very well that when they go to defend Russia, they go to defend Ossetia too,” RES quoted Kremlin-backed leader Anatoly Bibilov.
Parroting Moscow’s line about “denazification” of Ukraine, Bibilov added: “Because if fascism is not put down on the far frontier, it will tomorrow emerge here again against our homeland.”
Bibilov, who seeks reelection in two weeks, said he spoke to the servicemen before they departed: “They are on fire. Alanian* blood makes itself felt.”
On March 16, first reports emerged that units of Russia’s 4th military base in occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, including local contractors, had departed to join the war against Ukraine.
As per the military deal with Moscow, signed in 2017, parts of the Tskhinvali forces are joined with Russia’s 4th military base, while the number of its remaining forces is agreed with the Kremlin.
“I am not the one who gave the order to the 4th military base, because it is the Russian army, but when our friend is under the gun… we will stand side by side…,” Bibilov wrote then confirming the troop transfer, while also reflecting domestic criticism against the move.
The number of Russian troops, as well as South Ossetian servicemen sent from occupied Tskhinvali to fight in Ukraine remains unknown.
Tskhinvali native Sergeant Andrei Bakaev of Russia’s 58th Army, is the first confirmed S. Ossetian to have died in combat in Ukraine.
*Modern Ossetians are said to be descendants of Alans, ancient nomadic people who occupied the steppe region northeast of the Black Sea.
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