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Formation and Leadership

Described variously as a volunteer regiment or crack special forces and said to be under the control of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine. Formed on February 24, 2022 at the same time Ukraine released inmates from jail to fight Russia.

After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, activists associated with the Azov Regiment started forming volunteer units. One of these military formations became the Kraken special forces unit. Its commanders are Kostyantyn Nemichev and Serhiy Velichko, also known as Chili. Both men are from Kharkiv. They used to serve in the Azov Regiment, and later became social activists in their civilian lives.
Neo-Nazi Velichko, nicknamed Chile, was born in Kharkiv and became famous for his active participation in violent Maidan riots in 2014, as well as for his activities in the Azov* battalion. He is known for his particular cruelty, he would not stop at killing even children. Later, Velichko was imprisoned for extortion, but was recently released early...
Nemichev was the head of Azov* in Kharkiv and still heads the national corps in the city. He posted videos of the torture of prisoners of war on his social media pages.
As a volunteer unit, Kraken comes under the auspices of Ukraine’s ministry of defence, while Azov is part of the National Guard and overseen by the ministry of internal affairs. But the close ties have led some to direct the same criticism towards Kraken that is often laid at Azov’s door: that its members are far Right and ultranationalist ideologues, disciples of Azov’s unsavoury founder, Biletsky...
Some of the Kraken troops specialise in thinking creatively: running saboteur missions behind enemy lines and using drones to collect intelligence...
Kraken’s vehicles, painted matte green from the hubcaps to the headlights, are often seen tearing around Kharkiv’s streets; its sea monster insignia, framed in a red and yellow warning triangle, is plastered over bus stops and advertising panels.

Media output

Kraken's limousine displaying their badge and of 'Safari'. Safari forces were active in Bucha before the massacre story appeared in world media. Image source: @UAWeapons - The Kraken special unit has a new vehicle in their fleet- a "tactical" Limousine.

See also

Russian reports

Documented war crimes

Kneecapping Russian POWs

See thread by Ghost

BBC 'Reality Check

Suspected war crimes

Malaya Rogan

  • @SpriterMonitor1 on twitter: - Photo of the consequences of "filtration" in the village. Malaya Rogan, Kharkiv region. The UA with the participation of thugs from the national battalion "Kraken", carried out mass cleansing operations followed by the execution of civilians, who were considered "collaborators". See also [3]

Media Glorification

Softening image
Kraken official Youtube channel СПЕЦПІДРОЗДІЛ ГУР МО "KRAKEN" comments:
We are very grateful for the support of all our friends and allies from other states. All Ukrainians and fighters of the Kraken unit see this support, your kind words and appreciate it very much, this is important for us, do not doubt. For our and your freedom, on guard of Europe and the whole world! Together we will win!