Azov Regiment believes Russian troops should have been stopped on Crimeas border
Kateryna Tyshchenko – May 8, 2022
Denys Prokopenko, Commander of the Azov Regiment, believes that Ukrainian forces should have more actively attempted to stop Russian troops as they advanced from the Russian-occupied Crimea near Henichesk [a port city on the Sea of Azov in the Kherson Oblast]. According to Prokopenko, this would have changed the trajectory of the fight for Mariupol.
Source: Denys Prokopenko, interview with Ukrainska Pravda
Quote from Prokopenko: “If the forces located there [at the Crimea-Ukraine border] held the defense firmer, did everything they could to resist the enemy’s advance, didn’t just let the enemy troops enter the [Ukrainian] cities, everything would have been different now.
The thing is, the enemy should have been destroyed at the neck of land connecting Crimea with the rest of Ukraine, near Henichesk. The enemy’s manoeuvring capacity would have been limited there and would only have had one way to advance. Given the terrain, the enemy would have been bottlenecked.
From the tactical point of view, that was the location that would have been the most conducive to inflicting damage on the enemy troops, in order to hinder their advance and destroy them. The enemy troops should have been destroyed there, during their advance from Crimea. And for some reason, this just wasn’t done.”
Details: Prokopenko believes that the siege of Mariupol could have been avoided.
Quote from Prokopenko: “If Henichesk, Melitopol, and Berdiansk, and other cities [on the Russians’ route from Crimea to Mariupol] held their defence and fought the enemy as steadfastly [as Mariupol’s defenders], it would have taken the enemy much longer than 4 days to get from Crimea to Mariupol.
Since this is not how it happened, we found ourselves surrounded. Because in reality the enemy covered quite a substantial distance without meeting much resistance. Russian troops marched from Crimea without any significant fights on their way and found themselves on the western outskirts of Mariupol.”
More details: The Azov Regiment Commander also said that the actions of the 36th Marine Brigade “are difficult to make sense of.”
“First, 1 battalion surrendered, as early as 4 April. As a result, we lost the only connection we had between Azov and the 36th Brigade. Then unexpectedly the commander of the 36th Brigade decided, without warning anyone, to just break through in a direction that wasn’t agreed ahead of time, and that’s how he lost lots of his people. Likewise, many people were just left to their own devices and ended up as Russian prisoners…These uncoordinated actions suddenly undertaken by the 36th Brigade had catastrophic consequences, which we can no longer reverse,” Prokopenko noted.
Prokopenko added that nearly 1,000 Marines ended up as Russian prisoners of war.
Earlier: On 8 May, Illia Samoilenko, an intelligence officer, said that Volodymyr Baraniuk, commander of the 36th Marine Brigade, decided to flee the besieged Mariupol with his personnel, tanks, and ammunition.
Russian media have already shared footage of Baraniuk in captivity.