German television ran a video Monday night showing Ukrainian government troops wearing Nazi symbols.
The video was shot by Norwegian broadcaster TV2 last week. “We were filming a report about Ukraine’s AZOV battalion in the eastern city of Urzuf, when we came across these soldiers,” Oysten Bogen, a correspondent for the television station, told NBC News.
Azov is openly fascist, although this is not mentioned by NBC News.
It was formed and armed by Ukraine’s interior ministry. It is linked to Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna (“The Fatherland”) party through Arsen Avakov, who became the new Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine after the U.S. State Department sponsored violent coup ousted the elected Yanukovich government.
Patrons of the paramilitary group include Oleh Lyashko, a member of Verkhovna Rada, or the Ukrainian parliament, and ultra-nationalist Dmytro Korchynsky. He is the former leader of Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self Defense, which merged with Right Sector, a violent ultra-nationalist group of street fighters that played in key role in the February coup.
The battalion’s commander is Andriy Biletsky, the head of the neo-nazi social-nationalist political groups Social National Assembly and Patriot of Ukraine.
The stated aim of the organization is “to prepare Ukraine for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital” and “to punish severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man,” according to the BBC.
“Azov, which has an estimated personnel of 500 people, is one of about 50 volunteer battalions formed by Maidan activists and ultranationalists of the Right Sector group,” RT reported in August. “These newly formed units have been brought to eastern Ukraine to form the backbone of the forces fighting against the local self-defense militia advocating independence from Ukraine.”
It “actively participated in Kiev’s so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ and, like most of the volunteer and National Guards units, has been accused of committing war crimes against civilians,” the Russian news agency claims.
“Azov fighters do more than wave a Swastika-like flag,” writes Robert Parry, “they favor the Wolfsangel flag of Hitler’s SS divisions, much as some of Ukraine’s neo-Nazis still honor Hitler’s Ukrainian SS auxiliary, the Galician SS. A Ukrainian hero hailed during the Maidan protests was Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera whose paramilitary forces helped exterminate Jews and Poles.”
Ukrainian ultranationalists consider Russians and Poles their primary enemies. “The Jews in the USSR constitute the most faithful support of the ruling Bolshevik regime, and the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in Ukraine,” Ukrainian nationalists declared in 1941 during the Nazi occupation.
Considering the fact the Kiev government has actively fielded a battalion of neo-Nazi racists determined to cleanse Ukraine of what it considers untermenschen, the resistance effort by Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Donetsk and Luhansk is understandable.