On July 21, the EU Council adopted the 7th sanctions package against Russia, adding 48 individuals and 9 additional entities to the sanctions list. One of these groups is the youth organization funded by the Russian Defense Ministry.
The commission, which called the Yunarmiya a “paramilitary organization,” said the group supported Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and spread Russian propaganda about the war.
The EU also pointed to the fact that Yunarmiya used the military symbol Z, which was used during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Cooperation with Norway
Yunarmiya’s Arkhangelsk branch made headlines in 2019 when it received Norwegian state funding to visit war memorials in the country’s northern region of Finnmark.
Dressed in military uniforms, the group of children took part in the wreath laying ceremony at the Red Army Soldier statue in Kirkenes with the foreign ministers of Russia and Norway, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of eastern Finnmark.
Travel costs to Norway were covered by a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided through the Norwegian Consulate General in Murmansk. The teenagers visited war memorials in Kirkenes, Tana and Vardø.
In early July, the same Yunarmiya branch played a key role at Arkhangelsk station when Rosgvardia soldiers participating in the brutal war against Ukraine returned home.
“We are proud and will never forget your heroic deed!” reads Yunarmiya’s Vkontakte social media page.
The organization is associated with the Ministry of Defense and has had hundreds of thousands of children across Russia since dictator Vladimir Putin ordered its creation in 2015.
Focused on firearms training, patriotism, national and military history, and ceremonial duties, the movement is supported by the Russian Defense Ministry.