The order to withdraw Azov regiment from Shyrokyne was given at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as stated by the founder and former commander of the Azov regiment, People's Deputy Andriy Biletsky in an interview with Apostrophe. He believes that the decision to remove Azov from the front line was directed against him personally and against the soldiers and argued that "this is a classic meanness" by the Ukrainian authorities.
"This was a decision directed both against me and against the soldiers, people who returned to this President a city inhabited by a half million people [Mariupol]," he says.
At the same time, the People's Deputy believes that one of the reasons for the withdrawal of the regiment from Shyrokyne was pressure exerted by the Russian President Putin.
"This is a foreign policy crisis, first and foremost [Russian President Vladimir] Putin applied pressure here. When the negotiations on Shyrokyne were going on, when they actively persuaded me, including Muzhenko, to leave Shyrokyne and hand it over, saying that our presence there violates the agreements, during that time, I know for sure that Putin directly demanded the withdrawal of Azov from Shyrokyne," he said.
The second reason is the authorities' hatred of volunteer military units.
The demilitarization of Shyrokyne, which is situated next to Mariupol, began in 2015. The Azov and Donbas regiments were withdrawn from the area. The withdrawal of volunteer battalions caused a wave of protests in Ukraine.