Azerbaijani Volunteer Fighters in Ukraine

Azerbaijani volunteer fighters in Ukraine
Idrak Jamalbeyli’s post published on Facebook which shows a tomb of an Azerbainani volunteer fighters in Ukraine (Source: Idrak Jamalbeyli Facebook Account)

Kavkaz Files ISSN 2975-0474 Volume 21 Issue 2
Author: Guido Keller

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict, which began in 2022, attracted the attention of volunteers from all over the post-Soviet space interested in supporting Kyiv in the fight against Russian forces. Volunteer battalions, which are formed based on Islam and ethnonationalism, are actively engaged in the conflict in Ukraine. It is important to note that certain battalions have established ties with terrorist groups in the Middle East and the Caucasus.

Azerbaijanis also have been actively engaged in the conflict, as they recall the significant involvement of Ukrainians on Baku’s side during the first Karabakh war towards the end of the Soviet era. The position of the country’s authorities also contributes to the involvement of Azerbaijanis in the Ukrainian events.

In a study conducted in 2023, the American think tank Caspian Policy Centre observed that Azerbaijan’s response to the Ukrainian conflict was initially seen as a ‘delicate balancing act.’ Baku’s authorities managed to maintain friendly ties with Moscow while discreetly supporting Ukraine.

For example, the first shipment of humanitarian aid to Kiev occurred on February 27th, 2022. In addition, through SOCAR Energy Ukraine, a subsidiary of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, the Government of Azerbaijan has provided fuel for ambulances and other vehicles of the State Emergency Service at its gas stations in Ukraine.

Moreover, based on the Joint Declaration signed by the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Ukraine in January 2022, the Azerbaijani government did not recognise the sovereignty of the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

However, on October 24th, 2022, Rovshan Mammadov, chairman of the board of Azerbaijan’s State TV channel AZTV and host of the weekly program Hafta, called Russia’s actions “an act of occupation and a clear threat to the territorial integrity of another sovereign country.”

Mammadov further stated that Russia’s annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye is a “gross violation of the norms and principles of international law,” and the bombing of Ukrainian territories by Russian troops is a “crime against humanity.”

Mammadov’s statements essentially gave a green signal for the participation of people from Azerbaijan in the “just war against the aggressor.”

Azerbaijani’s Involvement in the Ukraine Conflict

The level of Azerbaijani involvement in the conflict can be assessed through the official statements made by representatives of the Azerbaijani diaspora in Ukraine, as well as various popular Azerbaijani media outlets such as and

Thus, the Secretary General of the Rada of Azerbaijanis of Ukraine, Ceyhun Mammadov, speaking in 2023 about the participation of Azerbaijanis in the conflict, said that there are about 500 ethnic Azerbaijanis in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. All of them are allegedly citizens of Ukraine.

However, given the decree of the President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, dated 2021 regarding the granting of Ukrainian citizenship to all those involved in military operations against Russia, it is difficult to say that only residents of Ukraine are among the combatants.

It is noteworthy that Jeyhun Mammadov also reported in the mentioned interview that the Rada of Azerbaijanis of Ukraine from the first days of the conflict actively participated in organising the evacuation of Azerbaijanis through Moldova and Turkey, distributing humanitarian aid from Azerbaijan, and also provides financial help to the Ukrainian army, purchasing medicines, bulletproof vests, thermal imagers, clothes and shoes with the collected funds.

Harvard University analyst on geopolitical risks, former Azerbaijani ambassador to Ukraine, advisor to the Minister of Finance of Ukraine Azer Khudiyev also said in his interview that Azerbaijani compatriots living in Ukraine mobilised against Russia from the first day of the war. According to him, they participated in the battles for the ‘liberation’ of Ukraine, showing courage and heroism.

Judging by media publications, many Azerbaijanis involved in the conflict in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have already died. In May 2023, the Wall of Memory of the Fallen Defenders of Ukraine was opened in Baku.

Azerbaijani media Report, citing the Embassy of Ukraine in Azerbaijan, stated the families of the deceased Azerbaijanis, as well as representatives of the Embassy of Ukraine, the Ukrainian diaspora, other Ukrainian institutions and communities of Ukrainians in Azerbaijan attended the event. Initially, they inscribed the names of 26 dead Azerbaijanis on the Wall of Memory.

At the moment, their number has increased significantly. The Eastern European bureau of Report conducted an investigation last November, which uncovered that since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, there have been at least 130 fatalities, around 100 injuries, and 70 individuals unaccounted for among Azerbaijanis. The local bureau of Report calculated these numbers, but they are not official statistics. Therefore, the actual count of deceased and missing Azerbaijanis in Ukraine might be higher.

A study of the Facebook accounts of activists of the Azerbaijani diaspora of Ukraine, Idrak Jamalbeyli and Anar Aghayev, shows that despite the losses, Azerbaijanis continue to actively participate in hostilities. They have published their photos from the battlefields online. Additionally, several publications may highlight the fundamentalist Islamic beliefs held by a portion of them.

Read more | Volunteer Battalions/Foreign Figthers in Ukraine

Only in the last few weeks, Azerbaijani activists have published posts about the search for Afghan Sayad Ogli, a native of Lankaran Bayramov, who went missing in Bakhmut, the death of Sabir Akhmedov, Elchin Muradov, as well as officer Murad Babayev, who died in Donetsk.

Furthermore, Azerbaijani journalist Mubariz Aslanov released a video which gained significant attention on Russian telegram channels for The video showcased the participation of Azerbaijanis in the conflict in Ukraine, resulting in a widespread response. Of the three interviewees, only one spoke Russian as a native of Ukraine, and the other two gave interviews exclusively in Azerbaijani, which suggests that they hardly spent most of their lives on Ukrainian soil.

We are not at all surprised by the presence of Azerbaijani militants on the territory of the so-called Ukraine–after all, dirt sticks to dirt. And since the actions of Azerbaijani hires are covered by a small Azerbaijani Internet channel, the authorities are certainly aware of what is happening. This would not have been published without the approval of the Aliyev administration. In addition, the current leadership of Azerbaijan does not hesitate to assist the Ukrainian regime, while lobbyists in Moscow are talking about how friendly relations between Russia and Azerbaijan are,” the authors of the popular Russian telegram channel “Rybar” expressed this opinion on the published video.


In conclusion, open sources have demonstrated that a significant portion of Azerbaijani individuals are currently gaining valuable combat experience in Ukraine. In the event that the conflict in Ukraine is ultimately resolved, there is a potential for Azerbaijani individuals, who have been granted Ukrainian citizenship, to potentially coordinate violent assaults in Europe if they find themselves dissatisfied with Brussels’ position.

For those with an interest in acquiring comprehensive insights into the activities of foreign fighters in Ukraine, we encourage you to reach out to our team by emailing We are ready to help you assess the opportunity to obtain a meticulously crafted and specialised report tailored to your intelligence needs.

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