I met a year ago with Illia Samoilenko, an officer in the Azov Brigade, which for three months kept the Ukrainian city of Mariupol from falling into Russian hands. We were buried 50 yards below ground, speaking in a maze of galleries that were once atomic shelters under Azovstal’s old steel mill. Ammunition and rations were running low. The cold rooms where they kept the dead had lost power. The severely wounded moaned in silence, awaiting the final assault. In Vladimir Putin’s delirious telling, their persecution was normal and just. He claimed the brigade was filled with neo-Nazis whose termination would liberate Ukraine from its worst elements. That was one of the pretexts for Russia’s invasion. In truth, these men took…
A New Masada Is Born in the Ukraine War
Article published in The Wall Street Journal, May 04, 2023
The Azov Brigade takes its inspiration from a legendary Jewish battle.
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