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Convicted war criminal Girkin returns to Moscow as he was “unofficially” sent to the war in Ukraine

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Former “DPR” “defense minister” Igor Girkin (Strelkov) announced that he has been in Moscow since December 5, as he was not able to “officially” go to war in Ukraine as part of a regiment, according to a post on his VK page.

On October 15, independent media outlet Agentstvo reported that Strelkov intended to return to the front line as a volunteer.

“I am in Moscow. Attempt #3 to take direct part in combat operations against the armed forces of the respected Kyiv partners (they are now referred to as “militants” in the bulletins of the [Russian] Defense Ministry) did not end with success, although I was very close to it.”

According to Girkin, he acted as chief of staff to a newly-formed battalion, but later found out that he was not listed as a member of the unnamed unit. Strelkov also wrote that all this time he had been carrying weapons and ammunition illegally, and had been illegally travelling to the area of the so-called “special operation” and to the front line zone. He added that he was in the area of the town of Svatove.

“If anything had happened to me on the above trips – then [it would have] been represented solely as the “amateurism of the adventurer Girkin” or (at best) an accident while carrying out “volunteer activities.”

Strelkov (whose real surname is Girkin), also known as Sergei Runov, is the former defense minister of the so-called “DPR.” He became known in 2014 – after the conflict in eastern Ukraine began. Girkin led the “DPR” separatists in Slovyansk and later led the “people's militia” in Donetsk. As The Insider and Bellingcat found out, Girkin-Strelkov, who called himself “an FSB colonel in reserve,” used passports for cover under an assumed name for many years after his return to Russia – documents he had obtained from the FSB. Girkin actively used an internal Russian passport in the name of Sergei Runov, among other official documents.

Girkin is one of the four defendants in the case of the crash of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down by a missile from a Buk surface-to-air missile system in the eastern part of the Donetsk region on July 17, 2014. The strike killed all 298 people on board – 283 passengers and 15 crew members. In November, a court in the Netherlands found him and two other defendants guilty of shooting down the place. An international arrest warrant has been issued for Strelkov and his co-accused, Sergei Dubinsky and Leonid Kharchenko.

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