On Russian social platform VK, the Christian Orthodox and fascist "Russian Imperial Movement" (RIM), designated by the U.S. as a global terror group, posted (April 27) a video address, titled "News from the Front Line" featuring prominent RIM member Denis Gariev, head of the "Imperial Legion." In the video, Gariev said he was able to record the video because he had to visit the hospital to be treated for a minor wound from fighting in Ukraine.
Gariev announced that "all our comrades, including the ideological ones, are at the Russian front in Novorossia [a colloquial and historical term for the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic]." He also stated that for over a month, the combat wing of RIM, called the "Imperial Legion" has been fighting in Ukraine, and that RIM views the war is a continuation of the 2014 conflict in Donbas. At its core, according to the RIM video address, the "Imperial Legion" is made up of veterans of combat operations in the Donbas in 2014-2016. Some members, according to Gariev, continued to participate in the conflict after 2016.
Gariev stated that the "Imperial Legion" units fight under the Image of Edessa, "we don't fight under any red banners," and that its aim is to protect Russians and the Christian church, because, "a failure to win in this war would lead to the prohibition of the Russian Orthodox Church on the territory of Ukraine [...] It's an ideological, a religious war for us." He added that "Imperial Legion" units are cooperating with units of the Ministry of Defense: "It's just a phase during which we are together with our Russian army, with the Ministry of Defense, continuing this struggle," said Gariev. The Imperial Legion fights within the ranks of special units [of Ministry of Defense], said Gariev.
Gariev went on to note that the fighting has incurred many injuries and casualties, and that Gariev's deputy, Denis Dobry a.k.a. Dionisiy Dobry was killed during the fighting on Good Friday. "The warriors of the Imperial Legion are full of spiritual enthusiasm, unlike the units of the Ministry of Defense, which fight in the conditions of an ideological vacuum. We know what we are fighting for," stressed Gariev.
He added that no one is enrolling in the "Imperial Legion," because Russian authorities are afraid to create large national and ideological detachments. A VK post published on April 2 by the VK "Imperial Legion" group stated that as of March 2, no members of the Legion had been conscripted, although some were put in reserve.
Denis Gariev: "For over a month, the Imperial Legion has been engaged in combat operations in Novorossiya. For us, this is basically a continuation of the 2014 war. Our unit consists of those Imperial Legion veterans who participated in the war in Donbas for Russia and the Russian people.
"So all in all, one shouldn't claim that we suddenly took part in a common operation. For us, this war never ended, so now it is simply a phase in which we continue this fight, along with, say, our Russian army [and] the Ministry of Defense."