icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
16 Oct, 2022 08:01

Top Russian military blogger volunteers for frontline

Igor Strelkov is believed to have joined one of the units in the Ukraine conflict
Top Russian military blogger volunteers for frontline

A top Russian military blogger and veteran of several armed conflicts, Igor Strelkov, has reportedly gone to the frontline to fight against Kiev. A $100,000 bounty was issued for his capture in Ukraine.

Strelkov’s wife, Miroslava Reginskaya, posted a photo of her husband in fatigues on social media on Saturday, several days after Strelkov, whose real name is Igor Girkin, had stopped posting new messages on his accounts.

“There were questions: Where is Igor Ivanovich? Is everything okay, where did he disappear, and so on. To which I answer: Everything is great! He will make contact soon,” Reginskaya wrote.

Strelkov reposted her message with the photo on Sunday, without commenting. He had said in the past that he planned to go to the frontline.

Fellow military blogger and war correspondent Vladlen Tatarsky (real name: Maksim Fomin) cited his own sources as confirming that Strelkov has joined one of the volunteer battalions.

Strelkov, 51, fought in the conflicts in Transnistria and Bosnia in the 1990s as a volunteer, and later in Chechnya while serving in the Federal Security Service, Russia’s top domestic spy agency.

Strelkov quit the FSB in 2013 and a year later led a squad of volunteer fighters in support of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). At the time, the Donbass republic had just declared independence from Ukraine following the 2014 coup in Kiev.

Strelkov quickly rose to fame as one of the most well-known Donbass commanders, and served as the DPR’s defense minister for three months. He later returned to Russia, becoming a prolific military blogger and commentator.

The Ukrainian authorities put Strelkov on a wanted list in 2020 on suspicion of committing war crimes. 

Ukrainian activist Sergey Sternenko tweeted on Saturday that he will pay $10,000 to anyone who captures Strelkov. Sternenko is a former regional leader of Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector, which is banned in Russia. Several Ukrainian public figures quickly promised to contribute their own money, raising the bounty to $100,000.

Sternenko argued that Strelkov should be taken alive so he can be swapped for Ukrainian prisoners held by Russia, or handed over to the Netherlands in exchange for additional weapons shipments.

The Dutch authorities have charged Strelkov for shooting down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over Donbass in 2014. He has denied the allegations.