The most famous of the pro-Russian rebel leaders in East Ukraine is Igor Strelkov, who has been covered extensively in this blog. Yet there exists, among rebel leadership, a character perhaps even more suspicious. In 1989, he fought as a volunteer in Transnistria. As one can see in the image above, he is one of the many caricature ‘Cossacks’ that fill up the margins of Russia’s political landscape, elected leader of the Don Cossack Host in 1994.
Before the war, Nikolai Kozitsyn has been personally a friend of Chechen rebel leader Dudaev, even signing a friendship treaty with the President of Ichkeria on behalf of the Don Cossack Host. Later on he has carried out negotiations with Slobodan Milosevic on behalf of the Don Cossack Host. He has received a service award from the Russian FSB.
On May 3rd, 2014, Kozitsyn, with a force of Cossacks on two trucks entered Ukraine from Russia and captured the town of Antrazit. One would imagine this is going to be the story of a typical Russian militant in Ukraine. It is not.
Early in May, at least one pro-Russian volunteer crossing over from Russia was captured and extensively tortured by Kositsyn’s men (as was at least one pro-Ukrainian activist).
On May 22, forces of the Lugansk Republic attempted to requisition ballistic vests from Antrazit police, and were by Kositsyn’s men forcibly disarmed and barred from entering Lugansk.
On June 6th, Igor Strelkov reported Cossack fighters from Krasny Liman abandoning their position and deserting to join Kozitsin’s forces. The Commander in Chief of the DPR army gave this description to the Cossacks:
But what devil has brought those hundreds of “Don and Kuban heroes” here at all? What are they defending in Antrazit? Whom are the fighting? The local chicken population and cisterns full of vodka? Nothing changes in the past 20-something years among our “redeemed Goat-cossackhood”. Dressed up scumbags and looters have ran the show, and continue to do so.
On June 8, the “Counterintelligence service of the Lugansk Republic” reported a ‘planned joint secret operation’ by the Ukrainian government and Kositsyn to have Kositsyn’s Cossacks take up positions in Lugansk, and then abandon them and let Ukrainian troops into the city. (The report is over here.) Witnesses state that on border posts controlled by the Cossacks there still stand Ukrainian officers reporting the identity of passing Russian volunteers to Kiev.
Later on, LPR authorities accused Kositsyn of refusing to participate in the fighting, and engaging in massed carjacking instead. Kositsyn threatened with penalties and a “violent solution to the problem.”
Yet later, audio evidence emerged of Cossack fighters that were reportedly Kositzyn’s men reporting they shot down the MH17. Kositsyn’s response is like that of a cartoon villain:
They shouldn’t be [expletive] flying,” the man says, after cursing the downed plane’s occupants as spies. “There’s a war going on.”
And now, Kositsyn’s being accused by Strelkov of abandoning Krasny Luch to the Ukrainians without a fight., leading to Donezk being surrounded.
In other words:
Kozitsyn and his men have committed crimes against Ukraine, the LPR, the DPR, possibly killed hundreds of Malaysian civilians, tortured people from both sides, engaged in carjacking. Literally every party in this conflict has been harmed by Kozitsyn in some way, and yet he remains safe and sound.
Who is this individual? Why is he still alive? I am suspecting – although of course I have no proof – that this man is an FSB agent. What shall my readers say?