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Voluntary military formations of Ukraine

Azov Battalion

Last modified: 2022-09-17 by rob raeside
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[Azov Battalion flag] image located by Bill Garrison, 28 February 2022

See also:


Units

Since the 2014 intervention in Ukraine by Russian forces and proxy forces (i.e. separatists militias, mainly located in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic) and related conflicts onwards, i.e. Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in February 2014 and the War on Donbass since April 2014, several military formations have appeared.

Starting from demonstrations back in April of 2014 and even before that (particularly in 2001 and 2009, there have been escalating tensions almost permanently.

Now, the military conflicts in the region, have as well seen the emergence of multiple groups, in this case the Azov Battalion (now a Regiment size Unit), which was incorporated into the "National Guard". Azov was a Special Task Patrol Service of Ukraine.

Патрульна служба поліції особливого призначення України, ПСМОП (English: Patrol Service of the Special Purpose Police of Ukraine, PSMOP). These units were established by Law "Про затвердження Положення про підрозділи поліції особливого призначення" (English: On approval of the Regulations on special police units), a Bill originally sent to Parliament on May 12, 2015, accepted on July 2, 2015, signed by the President on August 4, 2015 and enacted on November 7, 2015, reformed on January 1, 2017.

A total of 22 of these Units came into existence:
1. "Берда" (English: Byrd)
2. "Богдан" (English: Bogdan)
3. "Болград" (English: Bolgrad)
4. Батальйон "Вінниця" (English: Vinnytsia Battalion)
5. Полк "Дніпро-1" (English: Regiment "Dnipro-1")
6. Батальйон "Івано-Франківськ" (English: Ivano-Frankivsk Battalion )
7. Полк "Київ" (English: Kyiv Regiment)
8. Рота "Кривбас" (English: Krivbas Company)
9. "Крим" (English: Crimea)
10. Батальйон "Луганськ-1" (English: Luhansk-1 Battalion)
11. Батальйон "Львів" (English: Lviv Battalion )
12. Батальйон "Миколаїв" (English: Mykolaiv Battalion )
13. Полк "Миротворець" (English: Peacemaker Regiment)
14. Батальйон "Полтава" (English: Poltava Battalion)
15. Рота "Світязь" (English: Svityaz Company )
16. Рота «Святослав» (English: Svyatoslav Company)
17. Рота "Січеслав" (English: Sicheslav Company)
18. Батальйон "Скіф" (English: Scythian Battalion )
18. Рота "Суми" (English: Sumy Company )
19. Рота "Східний корпус" (English: Eastern Buildings Company)
20. Рота "Тернопіль" (English: Ternopil Company )
21. Батальйон "Харків" (English: Kharkiv Battalion)
22. Рота "Херсон" (English: Kherson Company )
23. Рота "Чернігів" (English: Chernihiv Company )
24. Батальйон "Шторм" (English: Storm Battalion )

Переформовані (English: Reformed)
1. "Азов" (English: Azov Battalion)
2. "Гарпун" (English: Harpoon)
3. "Донецьк-1" (English: Donetsk-1)
4. "Золоті ворота" (English: Golden Gate)
5. "Каскад" (English: Cascade)
6. "Київ-1" (English: Kyiv-1)
7. "Київ-2" (English: Kyiv-2)
8. "Київщина" (English: Kyiv Region)
9. Рота "Кременчук" (English: Kremenchuk Company)
10. "Мирний" (English: Peaceful) (perhaps it's the same as Полк "Миротворець" (English: Peacemaker Regiment)
11. "Січ" (English: January)
12. "Темур" (English: Temur)
13. "Харків-1" (English: Kharkiv-1) (perhaps it's the same as Батальйон "Харків" (English: Kharkiv Battalion)
14. "Харків-2" (English: Kharkiv-1) (perhaps it's the same as Батальйон "Харків" (English: Kharkiv Battalion)

Розформовані (English: disbanded)
1. "Артемівськ" (English: Artemivsk)
2. "Донецьк-2" (English: Donetsk-2)
3. "Полтавщина" (English: Poltava region )
4. "Свята Марія" (English: St. Mary )
5. "Слобожанщина" (English: Slobozhanschina)
6. "Торнадо" (English: Tornado)
7. "Туман" (English: Fog)
8. "Шахтарськ" (English: Shakhtar)

Source: https://uk.wikipedia.org/

For additional information go to Azov (official website):  https://azov.org.ua/

Esteban Rivera, 28 February 2022

Regarding the types of military Units, these are "Патрульна служба поліції особливого призначення України, ПСМОП (English: Patrol Service of the Special Purpose Police of Ukraine, PSMOP), sometimes referred to as "батальйон патрульної служби міліції особливого призначення, БПСМОП) (English: "Special Purpose Police Patrol Battalion, BPSMOP). These units were established by Law "Про затвердження Положення про підрозділи поліції особливого призначення" (English: On approval of the Regulations on special police units), a Bill originally sent to Parliament on May 12, 2015, accepted on July 2, 2015, signed by the President on August 4, 2015 and enacted on November 7, 2015, reformed on January 1, 2017."

The above was a clear governmental measure to create militias/paramilitary forces in order to support the official government forces.

Now, bear in mind that a total of 22 (other sources mention 24) units in total came into existence, with an additional 14 that were reformed (either incorporated into already existing military Units, or established themselves as newly created ones), and eight were disbanded, bringing the grand total to 44 (other sources mention 46) of these paramilitary units, with 37 (other sources mention 38) incorporated later (2015 afterwards) into the Ukrainian military forces and/or National Guard.

In this case, Azov Battalion was formally established on May 5, 2014 as a "Добровольчі батальйони" (English: Volunteer battalions), more formally "Добровольчі військові формування України" (English: Voluntary military formations of Ukraine), in Berdyansk as a battalion of the special police patrol service (BPSMOP) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, MIA, on the basis of a decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. On September 17, 2014, by order of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the Azov Battalion was reorganized and expanded into the "полку міліції особливого призначення Азов МВС" (English: "Special Police Regiment of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Azov MIA). On November 11, 2014 the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine signed an order to transfer "полку Азов" (English: Azov Regiment) to the National Guard of Ukraine, followed by its completion to the combat standard of the National Guard brigades. Today, the Azov unit is formally "загін спеціального призначення Азов" (English: Azov Special Purpose Detachment) of the "військової частини 3057" (English: military unit 3057) of the National Guard of Ukraine. In fact, the flags displayed at the end of this section (seen here in which of course the Azov Battalion flag is displayed, are located on a memorial dedicated to the Volunteer Battalions.

Sources: https://azov.org.ua/pro-nas/
https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/
and https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki

In fact, the commemoration first as an alternate "Independence Day Parade" (since Independence from the Soviet Union was issued on 24 August 1991, which had been up to that date the traditional independence day parade), a separate parade was starting to be held in memory of those volunteers who fought in the Russo-Ukrainian War of 2014-2015 (or "Війна на сході України", English: "The war in eastern Ukraine", or "Війна на Донбасі", English: "War in Donbass" (region), as it is known locally). This alternate event was first celebrated on August 24, 2019 as "Марш захисників України" (English: "March of Defenders of Ukraine") and called "Альтернативний парад" (English: Alternative parade) and derived from the establishment of a new national holiday, the "День українського добровольця" (English: Ukrainian Volunteer Day) on March 14, as follows: "Since March 14, 2017, Ukraine is marking Ukrainian Volunteer Day at the state level. On this day in 2014, the first 500 volunteer fighters of the "Самооборона Майдану" (English: Maidan Self-Defense (Volunteers)) arrived at the Novi Petrivtsi training ground to form the first volunteer battalion, and from there went to the East. Volunteers were among the first who defended the country. Together with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, they managed to stop the Russian aggressor at the cost of their own lives and health, to mobilize forces in the rear and to arm the army."
Sources: https://mva.gov.ua/en/news/14-bereznya-den-ukrayinskogo-dobrovolcya 
https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/
https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/
https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/
, https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki
and https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki

Esteban Rivera, 29 March 2022


Azov Battalion

[Azov Battalion] image by Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

Image of a slightly modified ancient German rune Wolfsangel, in black, called "Ідея Нації" (English: Idea of the Nation, IN, written in runic form either as "ꑭ" or ꏢ). It was the Social-National Party of Ukraine's first logo from its inception (1991) until the IX Congress Party held on February 14, 2004, when they changed their name to All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda" and also changed their former "IN" into a hand forming a trident with its three fingers
(source: http://www.svoboda.org.ua/pro_partiyu/istoriya)
Notice that the Wolfsangel symbol is black instead of blue. An example of the use of both flags at the same time (party and militia) is seen here: https://www.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/azov1.jpg, source: https://www.firstpost.com/world/russian-military-operation-puts-the-spotlight-on-ukraines-neo-nazis-what-you-need-to-know-about-them-10419921.html
Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

[Azov Battalion] image by Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

A flag with a yellow background with the Wolfsangel rune logo in the middle, in black). It is very common to see this flag among the Azov Battalion/Regiment.
Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

[Azov Battalion] image by Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

The logo featured on early flags and shoulder patch insignia. Image copied from the original, located here:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/72/Emblem_of_the_Azov_Battalion.svg/800px-Emblem_of_the_Azov_Battalion.svg.png, source: https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/). This was the emblem when the military formation was a battalion size Unit. It was used from the beginning of the summer of 2014 to the end of the winter of 2015, more specifically from September 17, until August 11, 2015. See https://preview.redd.it/g9scu00r6yn81.jpg?width=960&crop=smart&auto=webp&s=e7d1765caef4671a9e6b54459fa30c56ffe3c7bb for explanation (image archived here).
Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

[Azov Battalion] image by Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

Logo and shoulder patch insignia (image copied from the original, located here: https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki, source: https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0). This was the emblem when the military formation became a Regiment. It has been in use since the beginning of the spring 2015.
Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

[Azov Battalion] image by Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

Logo and shoulder patch insignia (image copied from the original, located here: https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki, source: https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0). This was the emblem when the military formation became a Regiment. It has been in use since the beginning of the spring 2015.
Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

[Azov Battalion] image by Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

Pennant with Wolfsangel logo (image cropped from the original located here: https://static.timesofisrael.com/www/uploads/2022/05/AP20074424743932-e1651659045985.jpg, source: https://www.timesofisrael.com/moscow-israeli-mercenaries-fighting-with-far-right-ukrainian-unit/.
Picture caption reads: "Ukrainian volunteers with the right-wing paramilitary Azov National Corps with their flags demonstrate their strength, during Ukrainian Volunteer Day in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)"
Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

[Azov Battalion] image by Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

Pennant with Wolfsangel logo, reversed) (cropped image from the original located here: https://es-la.facebook.com/746036608925056/photos/pcb.1209496905912355/1209495259245853/?type=3&theater, source: https://www.facebook.com/Sean-Eternos-los-Laureles-746036608925056/).
Esteban Rivera, 24 August 2022

Flags with such unusual shapes and various designs, looking as if borrowed from some SF video source (movie, series or game) are frequently used by Ukrainian ultra-rightists.
Tomislav Todorovic, 25 August 2022


Other groups

There are also other groups:

"Батальйо́ни територіа́льної оборо́ни, БТрО" (English: Territorial defence battalions, TerrDefB): were volunteer military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the auspices of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence in 2014–2015. They should not be confused with the volunteer units of "Патрульна служба особливого призначення" (English: Special Task Patrol Service of Ukraine which were created along with territorial defense battalions, but under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior. The battalions were established in mid-2014, during the early stages of the war in Donbas, to combat the pro-Russian separatists and the forces of the Donetsk People's Republic, Luhansk People's Republic, and the United Armed Forces of Novorossiya, the armed forces of the
(formally called) "Федеративное Государство Новороссия" (English: Federal State of Novorossiya ), Новороссия (which translates as New Russia) being a proposed Confederation of unrecognized states constituted by both, the Donetsk Republic and the Luhansk Republic, declared on May 22, 2014 and suspended on May 20, 2015. It claims to trace on the historical term of the Russian Empire denoting a region north of the Black Sea (now part of Ukraine). In Ukraine the territory was better known as Stepovyna (Steppeland) or Nyz (Lower land). 32 (although other sources mention 43, 44 and even 46) volunteer territorial defence battalions were formed:

1st Territorial Defence Battalion "Volyn" (Volyn Oblast)
2nd Territorial Defence Battalion "Horyn" (Rivne Oblast)
3rd Territorial Defence Battalion "Volya" (Lviv Oblast)
4th Territorial Defence Battalion "Zakarpattia" (Zakarpattia Oblast)
5th Territorial Defence Battalion "Prykarpattya" (Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, disbanded in January 2015)
6th Territorial Defence Battalion "Zbruch" (Ternopil Oblast)
7th Territorial Defence Battalion (Khmelnytskyi Oblast)[29]
8th Territorial Defence Battalion (Chernivtsi Oblast)
9th Territorial Defence Battalion "Vinnytsia" (Vinnytsia Oblast)
10th Territorial Defence Battalion "Polesia" (Zhytomyr Oblast)
11th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kyivan Rus" (Kyiv Oblast)
12th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kyiv" (Kyiv city)
13th Territorial Defence Battalion "Chernihiv-1" (Chernihiv Oblast)
14th Territorial Defence Battalion "Cherkasy" (Cherkasy Oblast)
15th Territorial Defence Battalion "Sumy" (Sumy Oblast)
16th Territorial Defence Battalion "Poltava" (Poltava Oblast)
17th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kirovohrad" (Kirovohrad Oblast)
18th Territorial Defence Battalion "Odesa" (Odessa Oblast)
19th Territorial Defence Battalion (Mykolaiv Oblast)
20th Territorial Defence Battalion "Dnipro" (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast)
21st Territorial Defence Battalion "Sarmat" (Kherson Oblast)
22nd Territorial Defence Battalion "Kharkiv" (Kharkiv Oblast)
23rd Territorial Defence Battalion "Khortytsia" (Zaporizhia Oblast)
24th Territorial Defence Battalion "Aidar" (Luhansk Oblast)
25th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kyivan Rus" (Kyiv Oblast)
34th Territorial Defence Battalion "Batkivshchyna" (Kirovohrad Oblast)
37th Territorial Defence Battalion (Zaporizhia Oblast)
39th Territorial Defence Battalion "Dnipro-2" (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast)
40th Territorial Defence Battalion "Kryvbas" (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast)
41st Territorial Defence Battalion "Chernihiv-2" (Chernihiv Oblast)
42nd Territorial Defence Battalion "Rukh Oporu" (Kirovohrad Oblast)
43rd Territorial Defence Battalion "Patriot" (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast)
*44th was not possible to establish due to lack of legal foundation
*45th Detached Motorized Infantry Battalion was transformed into the 5th Air Defense Battalion, of the Air Force
*46th Separate Assault Battalion "Donbas" is currently part of the 2nd Battalion of Special Assignment "Donbas", unit of the National Guard of Ukraine subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In autumn 2014 most of the territorial defence battalions were reorganized as motorized infantry battalions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Sources: https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/
https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_defence_battalions_(Ukraine) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_separatist_forces_in_Donbas 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novorossiya_(confederation) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_defence_battalions_(Ukraine)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novorossiya

Незалежні формування (English: Independent formations) (including four reformed independent formations):
"Аеророзвідка" (English: Aerial reconnaissance)
"Бат. ім. Джохара Дудаєва" (English: Bat. in memoriam Dzhokhar Dudayev)
"Бат. ім. Номана Челебіджіхана" (English: Bat. in memoriam Noman Chelebidzhikhan)
"Бат. ім. Шейха Мансура" (English: Bat. in memoriam Sheikh Mansour)
Київський козацький полк ім. Т. Шевченка (English: Kyiv Cossack Regiment named in memoriam T. Shevchenko)
Підрозділ "Сармат" (English: "Sarmat" Division)
Добровольчий український корпус (English: Ukrainian Volunteer Corps)
"Печерськ" (English: Pechers'k)
Загін "Погоня" (English: "Pursuit" Detachment)
"РУЯН" (English: RUYAN)
Громадське формування "Сєвєр" (English: Public formation "North"), formally "Громадське формування з охорони громадського порядку і державного кордону 'Сєвєр'" (English: Public formation for the protection of public order and the state border "North"), simply known as батальйон "Сєвєр" (English: Battalion "North").
Тактична група «Білорусь» (English: Tactical Group "Belarus")
Українська добровольча армія, УДА 5 ОБ (окремий батальйон ) 8 ОБ (окремий батальйон) «Аратта» (English: Ukrainian Volunteer Army. UVA, 5th and 8th "Aratta" independent battalions)
"Чорний туман" (English: "Black Fog")
"Єврейська рота" (English: Jewish company)
"Вольф" (English: Wolf)
Окремий легкопіхотний загін "Волинь" (English: Separate infantry detachment "Volyn")
Медичний батальйон "Госпітальєри" (English: Medical Battalion "Hospitallers")

Переформовані Незалежні формування (English: Reformed independent formations)
"Грузинський національний легіон" (English: Georgian National Legion), which became part of the 25th Detached Motorized Infantry Battalion "Kyivska Rus" of the Ukrainian Army which became part of the 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade "Cold Yar" of the Ukrainian Army
Окрема зведена штурмова рота "Карпатська Січ" (English: Separate combined assault company "Carpathian Sich"), first established as Окрема добровольча чота "Карпатська Січ" (English: Separate volunteer group "Carpathian Sich"), which was a subgroup of the 24th Separate Assault Battalion "Aidar" of the Ukrainian Army
Холодний Яр (бойовий загін) (English: Cold Yar (battle detachment))
Батальйон "ОУН" (English: OUN Battalion), also known as "Зведений батальйон територіальної оборони міста Ніжин" (English: Combined Battalion of the Territorial Defense of the City of Nizhyn).
Esteban Rivera, 28 February 2022

Images:

Georgian National Legion

[Georgian National Legion flag] image located by Esteban Rivera, 28 February 2022

image cropped from the original located here: https://sprotyv.info/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/dobrovolcy-533x261.jpg, source: https://uawire.org/georgian-legion-left-the-ukrainian-armed-forces
Esteban Rivera, 28 February 2022

[Georgian National Legion flag] image located by Esteban Rivera, 28 February 2022

image from the original located here:
https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki, source: https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki
Esteban Rivera, 28 February 2022

Ukrainian Volunteer Corps

[Georgian National Legion flag] image located by Esteban Rivera, 28 February 2022

image from the original located here: https://www.google.com/maps/@50.5266205,30.596692,3a,15.1y,241.74h,100.25t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sApqiuOtiJHK0h04YhVWe3w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=es-419. It seems that this was either the first or one of the first flags to be displayed at the "паркові алеї "Доброволець" (English: "Volunteers" park alley), since the flag shown is from May, 2015.

Sources: https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki

For additional information go to Georgian Legion (official website): http://georgianlegion.com.ua/

Now, in the current armed conflict, which escalated into a military campaign on February 24, 2022, there have been new military formations activated, under the "Війська територіальної оборони" (English: Territorial Defence Forces), which are the military reserve component of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. These Defense Forces are composed of Battalions (hence the term "Territorial defence battalions") and have been active since 2014 as well. Additionally, new militias (outside this hierarchy) are also starting to appear and be called "territorial defense units", since they have not yet achieved battalion size status, that is: composed of 300 to 1,000 personnel. Most likely, these new militias will either be incorporated to the already existing battalions or form new ones. The latest legal steps towards reactivation and reorganization of these military formations were taken on May 25, 2021 when the President passed a Bill to Parliament called "Про основи національного спротиву" (English: On the foundation of national resistance ), approved on July 16, 2021 and signed into Law on July 29 by the President. It was further amended on January 1, 2022 (other sources mention January 27). On Section I General Dispositions, Article 1 Basic Terms definitions, item 15, they are formally labeled as "Сили територіальної оборони Збройних Сил України" (English: Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine) meaning a separate paramilitary force that acts in coordination with the existing Armed Forces. The new voluntary units are authorized by Resolution № 1449 of December 29, 2021 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, in which the "Положення про добровольчі формування територіальних громад" (English: Regulations on voluntary formations of territorial communities) is approved. They are known as "ТрО" (English: TerrDef), "тероборона" (English: Defense), ТрОЗСУ (Romanized: "Sprotyv") (English: TerrDef ZSU), ЗСУ Romanized as ZSU, standing for Zbroini Syly Ukrainy, Armed Forces of Ukraine) and "ТериторіальнаОборона ЗСУ", (English: Territorial Defense ZSU).

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_Defense_Forces_(Ukraine) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021%E2%80%932022_Russo-Ukrainian_crisis)

For additional information go to Sprotyv (official website) https://sprotyv.in.ua/
Esteban Rivera, 28 February 2022

Flags in use

[Georgian National Legion flag] image located by Esteban Rivera, 28 February 2022

Flags of different factions that were involved in the fighting) (cropped image from the original located here:
https://georgianlegion.com.ua/images/novyny/1917000_1664205160486286_2818795244783449221_n.jpg, source: https://georgianlegion.com.ua/novini/631-vidkrittya-pam-yatnogo-znaku-na-chest-zagiblikh-dobrovoltsiv-foto-video).
From right to left, I can locate 12 poles, but cannot identify all the flags:
1. Azov
2. Ukrainian National Self-Defence
3. Two flags in the same pole (cannot identify either of them, thus these are two UFEs)
4. OUN
5. Ukraine
6.-12. Imperceptible

The original news report reads: (translated):

"OPENING OF A MEMORIAL SIGN IN HONOR OF FALLEN VOLUNTEERS (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

On December 19, a memorial sign in honor of all the fallen volunteers of the Russian-Ukrainian war was erected on the Dobrovolets Park Alley in the Desnianskyi district of Kyiv. The flags of all volunteer battalions participating in this war were raised on 6-meter flagpoles nearby. These flags will remain there forever, so that people will remember those people who did not hesitate to leave peaceful life and stand up for Ukraine. Among the flags that are now flying there is the flag of our Georgian National Legion."
This is dated December 19, 2015, although by late 2014 there were already some display of unit flags
Sources: https://m.facebook.com/ps.kyiv/posts/1529329597333893 and
https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Here's a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxuRBvq9ov0 
Esteban Rivera, 28 February 2022