A Hasidic pilgrim kisses a chevron with a red-and-black flag and a Star of David worn on the arm of a Ukrainian soldier of the Azov Regiment who goes by the call sign “Rebbe”
The photo in question features a Ukrainian soldier from Rivne with the call sign “Rebbe”, who serves in the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade. This was confirmed by Oleksandr Tretiak, who is personally acquainted with the soldier.
The media service of the 3rd Assault Brigade also confirmed this information.
Khrystyna Bevz, the spokesperson for the 3rd Assault Brigade, stated, “Yes, this is our fighter. The 3rd Assault Brigade was established by Azov veterans, originating from the Azov Territorial Defense Force in Kyiv, then the Azov Special Forces, and currently the 3rd Assault Brigade.”
How did the confusion start?
These photos belong to Ukrainian photographer Vladyslav Musiienko. He shared them on his Facebook page.
The caption beneath the photograph reads as follows:
“2023-09-16, Uman, Ukraine, a Hasidic pilgrim kisses a chevron with a red-and-black flag and a Star of David worn on the arm of a Ukrainian Azov soldier of the Azov Regiment who goes by the call sign “Rebbe”. He came to Uman for Rosh Hashanah for one day from the front line in eastern Ukraine.”
Musiienko’s photographs were re-published by numerous Ukrainian and foreign media outlets, along with the information he provided.
Bukvy, one of the early media to acknowledge the error, clarified the situation by reaching out to Azov, which refuted the information.
“It’s currently unknown for what reasons or motives the man is wearing the armband without being a member of the brigade,” wrote the journalists.
When this refutation was presented to Musiienko, he stated that he had “simply relayed what he heard from the soldier.” His colleague, Jarek Junko, also pointed out that he had an audio recording of the fighter claiming to be an Azov soldier.
We presume that the confusion may have arisen due to the brigade’s history. In fact, it was established on March 9, 2022, based on a unit of the Azov Territorial Defense Force. On January 26, 2023, the Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine transitioned into the 3rd Assault Brigade of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
It’s important to distinguish the Azov Regiment/Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the Azov Separate Special Forces unit (regiment) of the National Guard, which was stationed in Mariupol and engaged in combat there.
UPD: The media service clarified that the Azov Regiment is now designated as a brigade