Legendary soldier or propaganda tool? His name is “Gagauz” and in Ukraine he is a hero. A member of the 79e air assault brigade of the Ukrainian army is enjoying growing notoriety. He is said to be a master in the use of American FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles, in the middle of the war against Russia. But who is he really?
It surely takes its nickname from the Gagauzes, a Turkish-speaking population, of Orthodox Christian faith, present on lands shared between Moldova and south-west Ukraine. In an article published in the economic magazine Forbesjournalist David Ax shines the spotlight on this Ukrainian paratrooper soldier nicknamed “Gagauz”, in the conflict which has pitted Ukraine against the Russian invader for almost two years.
A disastrous record
What do we know about this parachutist described by the journalist as “the most dangerous soldier for the Russians” ? He is a member of the 79e air assault brigade of the Ukrainian army and is currently operating on the front around the mining town of Vouhledar in eastern Ukraine. If he hits the headlines, it’s because he masters the American FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles better than anyone else. According to his own statements, he was responsible for the destruction of more than forty Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers and engineering vehicles, and he damaged around twenty others. A disastrous record which, according to him, far exceeds that of his teammates.
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According to journalist David Axe, for a year and a half, the soldier has reached at least three Russian vehicles per month. As the online media points out Korii, Russia also suffered a bitter failure during an offensive in the Vouhledar sector: at the start of 2023, it lost at least 130 armored vehicles in just three weeks.
A compromised future
Gagauz would have been engaged in the 79e air assault brigade during the summer of 2022. “That day I was told to prepare, I saw the target and I shot. I touched her. » However, the soldier and his army could soon find themselves short of ammunition: the FGM-148 Javelin, supplied mainly by the United States which has already sent 10,000 to Ukraine, are at the heart of a political war in UNITED STATES.
The American Republican Party has, in fact, refused for several months to vote for additional aid for Ukraine, aid which would include more FGM-148 Javelin missiles.
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Gagauz’s performances are talked about and give him a special place within the Ukrainian army, where he symbolizes bravery and combativeness. But in the midst of the information battle, war sometimes makes reality foggy. Ukraine had already paid the price for failed propaganda, when in May 2022, the “Ghost of kyiv” had been unmasked. Supporting video, the Ukrainian authorities and political leaders assured that this iconic driver had single-handedly shot down around forty Russian planes. A feat. Until the public relations department of the command of the Ukrainian Air Force finally denied its existence. Without necessarily denying the existence of Gagauz, his exploits in any case feed propaganda that bodes well for Ukraine, while kyiv seeks to re-motivate its troops in the face of a bogging down conflict.