Today marks exactly six years since the founding of the famous Azov Battalion, which in a short time has become a regiment, the pride of the modern Ukrainian army, and has written many heroic pages in the history of the war against the Russian aggressor. The commander of Azov in 2016-2017 was Maxym Zhoryn, call sign “Mose”. Today, he heads the central branch of the National Corps party, which has its origins in the Azov movement. He answered several questions for the “National Correspondent” edition.
How did you end up at the front, and why Azov?
The fact is that the front for me began earlier than the official date of the war. Since March 2014, as part of the Black Men detachment, we have been patrooling the East and South of Ukraine. Then we already had to fight. Then we already had “business trips” to problem regions. Accordingly, they later became the official form of war. I am one of those who stood at the origins of the creation of Azov Regiment.
If not “Azov”, then where? Which unit? Could you join the Armed Forces?
I don’t even want to imagine. I refuse to see myself outside Azov, I refuse to see myself in any other units. Of course, if it weren’t for Azov, I would have gone to some other unit, but all this would not have been serious.
How did your relatives and friends react to your decision to go to war?
My decision to go to war was fully supported by my wife. My mother knew about this in 2016, as she lived in the Luhansk region. I didn’t tell her about it for her own safety.
How did Azov differ rom other combat units?
Perhaps I will not be objective in answering this question, but most importantly Azov is not just a unit, Azov is a fighting family in the truest sense of the word. If you go into details, it certainly differs a lot: from equipment and approach to training, ending with the management system.
Where did the call sign “Mose” come from?
My call sign was actually created by my old friend Pasha Bass. He had the call sign “Fix”. He died in the Granite area.
What was the most memorable day for you in the regiment?
12/12/14. I even tattooed this on my body. On this day we fought near the settlements of Pavlopol and Oktyabr. I remembered it because that day I saw my best friend Buba explode in a mine. Just before my eyes, his car flew into the air, and he flew out of it. Also, I will never forget what my old friend Belaz, who was lying headless next to me. Buba then, fortunately, survived. We were able to provide him with the necessary medical care. He had to be dragged a couple of kilometers through the mud, but then he was rescued.
Is the most significant military operation of the Azov Regiment for you personally?
I consider the liberation of Mariupol from the Russians to be the most important operation of the Azov Regiment. The operation was fateful not only for Azov, but also for the entire front and the whole of Ukraine. Mariupol is the first large city to be liberated by Ukrainian troops and carried out by Azov. It was Azov that began the liberation of Ukraine on a serious scale.
Were there moments in the war that you are ashamed of?
I do not know. I think that in war you can be ashamed only for the fact that you destroyed too few enemies.
Are you two different people before and after the war?
It’s hard for me to judge whether I’ve changed much, but I think it’s definitely true. For few, a war can pass without change and consequences.
Remember your first and last days in Azov. How much have you changed and what has changed in you?
It will be difficult for me to remember the first day in Azov. Our first battles took place before we were called Azov, so it’s hard to say when that first day was. And I haven’t had the last day in Azov yet.
What does the Azov Regiment mean to you?
For me, Azov is everything. Absolutely everything. Brotherhood, family, work, way of life.
In the summer of 2019, you ran for the Verkhovna Rada. Which is harder: to be involved in politics or to command the Azov Regiment?
The fact is that politics in any case affects the war, the front and all other events. Therefore, there is an understanding that it is necessary to be in politics.
What does Ukraine lack today to end the war with Russia with a victory?
To win the war, Ukraine needs, first of all, a normal government, which would consist of people with right-wing states and a high level of professionalism.