The Living Force
Potential Exchange Of Azov As Path To Russia's Defeat
On May 11, 2022, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced upcoming negotiations on the exchange of severely wounded members...
POTENTIAL EXCHANGE OF AZOV AS PATH TO RUSSIA’S DEFEATSupport SouthFront
Surrender of wounded Azov members
On May 11, 2022, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced upcoming negotiations on the exchange of severely wounded members of the Azov national battalion blocked in Mariupol for Russian prisoners of war. This decision caused widespread criticism from citizens of both Russia and other countries of the world that support the “denazification” of Ukraine. This is not surprising, since it is the Azov battalion that is the main unit that professes the ideology of Nazism and was actually created to destroy the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass republics.
Image illustrated nazi’s ideology of Azov
A possible solution is already being actively condemned at this stage by pro-Russian analysts such as Igor Strelkov. He states that this decision, which will probably be taken by the military command of the allied forces, will make the special operation in Ukraine unfinished. Given the extensive military assistance from European countries and the mercenaries coming into the country, the operation risks being incomplete. It may also allow the AFU to launch a counterattack.
Moreover, in the comments of users and Strelkov-Girkin himself there is already an opinion about the actual betrayal of those Russian state officials who will give sympathy to the Nazis and allow Ukraine to exchange them.
There is a fairly simple explanation for all of the above circumstances.
Military theory emphasizes the destruction or defeat of the enemy’s military forces as the main objective of any military operations. Without this, it is virtually impossible to defeat the enemy without internal contradictions within the state. Such examples in history, of course, have occurred.
Also no less effective option to defeat the enemy army is to inflict a MORAL defeat on it. That is, to undermine the belief of the majority of enemy soldiers and officers in the possibility of victory, or at least in the relative likelihood of surviving the war personally. And vice versa, if there was no moral breakdown, even by all parameters defeated troops continued to fight hard, inflict high losses on the enemy and significantly affect the final outcome of the war. History also knows many cases in which an army far from being physically defeated has laid down its arms and collapsed precisely because of moral breakdown.
In the case of the blockade of the Azovstal plant we are talking about the siege of a fortress, persistently and quite successfully defended by a staunch and select garrison staffed with the best military force of the armed forces of Ukraine and already transformed by propaganda into a “banner of resistance against the aggressor”.
In this case, it is not the occupation of some “landmark point” (the Azovstal plant) that will be perceived as a victory, but precisely the decision against the participants of the neo-Nazi formation. The more Ukrainian soldiers and officers manage to avoid death and captivity, the more chances that the battle for Mariupol and Azovstal will be perceived as a victory. This will allow us to conclude that in all such situations we should stand to the end, inflict as heavy losses on the Russians as possible, and then they will let us out of the encirclement one way or another anyway and we will return home as heroes, contributing greatly to the inevitable victory in the war. On the contrary, the complete annihilation or capture and trial of the Nazis will mean inevitable death for Ukraine and will significantly affect the further behavior of those who resist. Finally, to hand over at least some military personnel directly to the Ukrainian side would mean multiplying one’s own losses in the future and significantly raising morale.
At this point, the head of the DPR, Denis Pushylin, announced the upcoming trial of Azov members. Allegedly, their fate will be determined at a tribunal, and an international one at that. However, despite the seeming adequacy of the measures against Nazis in the pro-American community, the Azov battalion is not perceived as war criminals. Moreover, since the start of the special operation, several states with a pro-Western orientation have already reversed their decision to recognize members of this formation as neo-Nazis (e.g. Japan).
Another photo proving that Azov are Nazis
Thus, the Russian military and political leadership has a serious task in determining the next steps in advancing the special operation. Taking into account the unrequited steps towards the Ukrainian side in the negotiations, Russia needs to be as serious as possible in deciding the fate of Azov. Furthermore, the trial of war criminals is the initial goal of the Russian special operation.