Russian writer and journalist Zakhar Prilepin has been appointed deputy special forces commander of a battalion in the Donesk People’s Republic – a self-proclaimed state in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
“[This] division has already been created on my initiative and we will strive to ensure that we – as knights in shining armor – come to [any] nearby town that we [previously] forsook for whatever reason,” said Prilepin in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda.
In an interview with television station Dozhd, Prilepin said his battalion carries out combat missions on the line of combat with Ukrainian troops, adding that the post of “political commissar is not that of kindergarten teacher.”
Since 2015, Zakhar Prilepin has been an advisor to Donesk People’s Republic’s leader Alexander Zakharchenko. The writer is particularly active in delivering humanitarian assistance to the East of Ukraine.
Since 2016, Prilepin has been a presenter on television station Tsargrad TV. The channel is owned by businessman Konstantin Malofeev who is known for supporting armed groups of separatists fighting in the Donbass.
In the 1990s, Prilepin served in OMON – Russia’s special federal police units – and partook in operations in Chechnya and Dagestan.