Russia's Supreme Court today declared the Ukrainian nationalist Azov regiment a terrorist group, Reuters reported, citing its correspondent on the ground.

As a result, the now-captured Azov soldiers will be able to be tried under Russia's strict anti-terrorist laws and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison, the agency noted, quoted by BTA.

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The Azov Regiment, which has far-right and ultra-nationalist roots, is one of the most prominent Ukrainian military formations fighting against Russia in eastern Ukraine.

It was formed in 2014 to fight pro-Russian rebels and later became part of the Ukrainian National Guard.

In a statement, the Azov Regiment said Russia was seeking new justifications for its war crimes and called on the US State Department to designate Russia a terrorist state.

Russia regularly points to the existence of Azov in support of its claims that Ukraine is under the control of "fascists".

Russian state media have compared Azov fighters to World War II Nazis, and the Soviet Union's victory over Nazism remains a key part of Russian national identity, Reuters noted.

Azov was based in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, and many of its members were captured by Russian forces when the city fell in May after a nearly three-month siege.

Over 500 fighters from "Azov" are on trial for war crimes in the DPR

Officials in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, which considers Mariupol part of its territory, said in May that captured Azov Regiment fighters could be sentenced to death under the Russian-backed republic's laws.

Last week, the Russian embassy in London tweeted that the captured Azov fighters should be hanged and that they "deserve a humiliating death".

Russian invasion of Ukraine