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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the AO Konar plant in Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 16, 2024. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Federal Security Service (FSB) to track down Russian citizens who are fighting in Ukraine's military or pro-Kyiv militias in comments during a meeting of the FSB's board on March 19.

The Freedom of Russia Legion, the Siberian Battalion, and the Russian Volunteer Corps, consisting of Russians who fight for Ukraine, launched cross-border incursions into Russia's Belgorod and Kursk oblasts on March 12, allegedly resulting in clashes with Russian forces in several settlements.

There are other units of Russians, such as the primarily Chechen Dzhokhar Dudayev and Sheikh Mansur battalions, that have also been fighting for Ukraine.

Putin said that all such Russians must be tracked down and "punished...without any statute of limitations, wherever they may be located."

In a historical parallel common in Putin's rhetoric, he also compared Russians fighting for Ukraine to the Russian Liberation Army (also known as the Vlasov Army), who fought alongside Nazi Germany against the Red Army in World War II.

Russian security services have a long history of hunting down perceived traitors abroad, including engaging in targeted assassinations.

What do we know about the ‘Siberian Battalion’ that reportedly crossed into Russia?
Editor’s Note: The Kyiv Independent doesn’t provide the full names of soldiers mentioned in the story to protect them and their families from persecution in Russia. They are identified by callsigns. KYIV OBLAST – In the early hours of March 12, Russian state media sounded the alarm. A number of Ukr…
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