‘Motivational strategies’ of Ukraine proving counterproductive

Moscow will offer a reward for any information leading to the capture of two commanders of Ukraine’s notorious Azov regiment who are accused of brutally torturing and murdering Russian POWs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced on its website on Wednesday.

The bounties have been placed on 28-year-old Konstantin Nemichev and 26-year-old Sergey Velichko, who have served as commanders in the Azov regiment. The unit was declared a terrorist organization by Russia’s Supreme Court in June. Both of the fighters have been put on the international wanted list, as well as Russia’s ‘ten especially dangerous wanted criminals’ list.

“The leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation has decided to offer a reward for assistance in detaining the commanders of the Ukrainian nationalist battalion Konstantin Nemichev and Sergey Velichko, accused of committing a crime under Article 317 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation,” the ministry’s press service wrote, adding that one million rubles (~$16,600) will be paid out for information on each individual.

The ministry previously called for the arrest of the two Azov commanders back in May after Russia’s Investigative Committee had identified them as being responsible for “causing multiple bodily harm, including with the use of firearms” to at least eight Russian servicemen, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Both Nemichev and Velichko are currently part of the Kraken regiment operating near the city of Kharkov, which primarily consists of Azov veterans and other neo-Nazi fighters and volunteers.

The regiment describes itself as a special reconnaissance and sabotage unit under the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, operating separately from the Armed Forces.

Last week, Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that Kraken forces had executed some 100 fellow Ukrainian soldiers who had abandoned their positions amid a Russian breakthrough in the Kharkov region. According to Moscow, the executions were carried out to “suppress panic and intimidate the personnel of the Armed forces of Ukraine.”

Is it surprising Ukraine has lost international support?