: RFE/RL: Belarusian militant in Luhansk confirms presence of Russian army

17:14 May. 7, 2016

RFE/RL: Belarusian militant in Luhansk confirms presence of Russian army

Russian-backed separatist forces in Donbas, Ukraine (GettyImages Photo)

Pro-separatist fighter Igor Katok names specific divisions Moscow sent to Donbas

Belarusian pro-separatist militant Igor Katok revealed information about the involvement of the Russian armed forces in the military conflict in Donbas. According to him, the Kremlin sent several battalions to both fight the Ukrainian soldiers and control the local separatists.

"I can tell, at least three divisions were stationed in Luhansk in 2014. The one from the Russian city of Tomsk, the 76th air assault division from Pskov and marines from the Russian Northern fleet. There was someone else, whom I can't recall", Katok said in an interview with RFE/RL.

The militant added, some of the Russian soldiers were relocated to Syria after Moscow decided to deploy its troops to support country's President Bashar Al-Assad. However, he said the separatists still received direct military support from the Kremlin.

Watch also: More Russian tanks arrive in eastern Ukraine

"They help us. But without Putin's say-so they won't allow us to at least try to reach the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions", Katok told.

Igor Katok also reported, a "private military campaign", created by the Russian Federal Security Service [FSB] and controlled by "Colonel Wagner" (real name is reportedly Dmitriy Utkin) was deployed in Donbas to supervise the separatists.

"I served under Colonel Wagner's command, who was in charge of this "private campaign". I even have a photo with him", Katok claimed.

Read also: Operation "Matryoshka": Russian mafia penetrates European football clubs

He also explained he couldn't return to Belarus due to a criminal investigation against him.

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