History of the regiment
It all started in winter, which has changed us all. One of the undoubted achievements of the Maidan was the release of political prisoners from the dungeons of the Yanukovych regime, among them - a number of “Social-National Assembly” members.
February 28, 2014, in the days following his release, Andriy Biletsky led the detachment of Kyiv and Kharkiv activists who stormed the main headquarters of Kharkiv pro-Russian separatists – the "Oplot” club. The next day - 01.03.2014 - a small group of "SNA" activists took defense of Kharkiv Regional State Administration. However, “titushky” (mercenary agents who supported the Ukrainian police force during the administration of Viktor Yanukovych, often posing as street hooligans with the purpose of performing illegal acts), armed with firearms and traumatic weapons, and sturdy "tourists" from Russia storm the RSA and burn all Ukrainian patriots’ personal belongings and symbols they could find. In Kharkiv, there is an ongoing tense situation that results in the "Rymarska defense" case 14-15.03.2014. Shooting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian patriots ends with death of two separatists and five seriously wounded on their part. Some Ukrainian patriots find themselves behind bars – they will be released later.
Meanwhile, in March and April patriot trainings are going on in the forests near Kharkiv and Poltava. The legend of the guerrillas spreads among the patriots. The “Black Corps” is formed justifying those rumors. The hotel "Cossack" in the center of Kyiv, transferred to activists in the times of the Maidan, since March serves as the headquarters and training and mobilization center for the "little black men," who, in contrast to the Russian "little green men", carry out raids in Slobozhanshchyna region with the purpose of cleansing the area of pro-Russian separatists. It is thanks to these raids that these areas did not follow the lead of Donbas.
01/05/2014 – "little black men" are engaged in the last raid in Kharkiv. Ulteriorly, local separatists reject the idea of the open city seizure and resort to terrorist tactics.
05/06/2014 - during the first raid on Mariupol, the "Black Corps" guerrilla group is legalized at the Ministry of the Interior Affairs and becomes the "Azov" battalion. The patriots who are eager for action got their first 90 automatic rifles.
05-07.05.2014 the first "Azov" military achievements: the capture of I. Khakimzyanov - DPR Defence Minister, the elimination of an enemy ambush, the pro-Russian rally dispersal.
09/05/2014 - "Azov" moved to the place of permanent deployment in the East. First, staying at a military base in Berdyansk, "Azov" eliminates terrorists’ staging post at the residence of former President Yanukovych, and since then the headquarters of "Azov" have been stationed in Urzuf. In May and August 2014 the battalion establishes control over the Azov coast from Berdyansk to Novoazovsk. Since early June, the elimination of pro-Russian separatists has continued, and 13.06.2014 in conjunction with the 72ndMechanized Brigade, MIA special forces and two companies of the National Guard of Ukraine, “Azov” held a large-scale assault on the city and its clean-up of the so-called DPR. As a result of the operation, a military commandant of the DPR in Mariupol A. Borisov, nicknamed "Chechen," was eliminated.
"A piece of iron" – an armored KamAZ, completed with a heavy machine gun NSV-12.7 "Utes," became the first example of military construction.
Meanwhile, groups of volunteers continue arriving after trainings at the training and mobilization base to a permanent deployment "Azov" base. 05/08/2014 the battalion frees Maryinka in a suburb of Donetsk in one day. Then, the battalion sustains first casualties – a soldier nicknamed "Balagan" is killed, and several soldiers are wounded.
10-20.08.2014 "Azov" is involved in the Ilovaysk operation, however, thanks to adequate assessment of the combat situation by Andriy Biletsky, the battalion does not get into the Battle of Ilovaysk.
In early September, a column of Russian army crossed the Ukrainian border and captured Novoazovsk, 04/09/2014 "Azov" set out toward the column without heavy weapons and has managed to stop the Russian troops in Shyrokyne. The next day, Ukrainian politicians declared a truce with the Russian invaders. 04/09/2014, the fights for Shyrokyne begin.
In mid-September 2014 the MIA "Azov" special purpose battalion, the only one among the volunteer groups, was extended to a regiment of the same name. 26.10.2014 Andriy Biletsky was elected to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to create laws that are important for the functioning and restructuring of the army. Because of the inability to hold the post of a deputy and a commander of the regiment simultaneously, the command was handed to Igor Mykhailenko – a political prisoner in the times of Yanukovych. Thanks to its military achievements 11.11.2014 the "Azov" regiment is transferred to the National Guard of Ukraine, which makes it possible to increase the strength and create the tank and artillery units.
10-15.02.2015 under the command of Andriy Biletsky as the Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security and Defence "Azov" provides the only successful offensive of the Ukrainian troops throughout ATO: Shyrokyne, Lebedynske, Kominternove, Berdyansk and Pavlopil are freed. During the operation, “Azov” sustains casualties in manpower, but fends off several assaults on its positions by militants, prevents attempts to lock the ring around their forces, destroys a large number of enemy vehicles.
March-June 2015 the "Azov" regiment continues holding the Azov coast to Shyrokyne inclusive, with constant fights, holding in check the Russian invaders in Mariupol direction.
The process of expansion of the "Azov" regiment to the Guards Brigade for special purposes started in June 2015.