Hooligan mob of ‘gym rats and football ultras’ slaying Russians in Ukraine

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A group of Ukrainian football hooligans has taken up arms “specifically to kill Russians”.

The Kraken Regiment, a volunteer unit formed in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has attracted criticism after reports emerged that it had dozens of neo-Nazis among its ranks.

The Ukrainian military has dismissed those claims, saying they’re just Russian propaganda, but the regiment is reported by the Washington Post to be made up of assorted bouncers, “gym rats,” and football Ultras.

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The football supporters – many of them devoted to Kharkiv’s Metalist team – were known for their rowdy behaviour before the war broke out.

But after their main haunt, a sports bar named The Wall, was bombed, allegedly by Russian separatists, in 2014, opposition to Putin’s régime hardened among the Ultras.

They joined with other volunteer groups to form the Kraken Regiment.

Soldiers stationed in the village of Ruska Lozova say Kraken Regiment is composed of about 1,800 soldiers, although an official Ukrainian defence spokesman declined to say exactly how many are serving in the unit.

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One heavily-tattooed Kraken commander, known by the code-name Viking, simply told the Daily Telegraph: “We’re training to kill Russians.”

The regiment is not officially part of the Ukrainian army and it shows in their equipment – AK47s hand-painted in camouflage that looks as much like tie-dye as military issue, and hastily-adapted SUV’s instead of armoured cars.

Another member of the regiment, 27-year-old Anton, said operations were “chaotic” at first, recalling how a new recruit learning how to use a Czech-made anti-tank weapon accidentally blew up a wall instead, injuring several of his comrades.

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The unit’s basic training has been called into question when it comes to the way Russian POWs have been treated, too.

The Russian leadership has put a price on the head of the Kraken regiment’s commander, Konstantin Nemichev, claiming that he was responsible for “an attempt on the life” of eight Russian soldiers.

The BBC reported that several Russian prisoners has been deliberately shot in the leg after being captured by the Krakens.

Nemichev dismissed the BBC’s video as “fake news” and said his unit had always been “always very humane” with POWs.

Morale is very high within the Kraken Regiment as they press on to Kharkiv.

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Kharkiv-born Oleg Sapalenko was a member of the 25th Airborne Brigade but asked for a transfer to the Krakens so he could be with his friends and neighbours as they took back their home town.

“I fought in Donbas and …how to put it? … things are better organised here,” the 27-year-old told reporters.

“Teammates are way better team players, and that helps a lot.”

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