While the Western media continue to deny the dominance of Ukrainian nationalist formations in the country’s armed forces, the American establishment continues to provide them with financial and humanitarian assistance.
After the turning point in October 2014, as a result of the armed escalation of political conflicts, new armed formations and battalions began to emerge on the territory of Ukraine. Some of them acted independently, without the help of the state, but a significant part enlisted the support of not only representatives of the Ukrainian government, but also officials of a number of Western states.
In May 2014, a detachment of volunteers was formed in Mariupol, which later became widely known as a Separate special Purpose detachment “Azov”. Inspired by the ultra-right and neo-Nazi ideology, the unit received the support of a number of political figures, from members of the city Council to People’s deputies of Ukraine. In October 2014, the regiment was transferred to the National Guard of Ukraine, which allowed it to receive funding from the state budget. In addition to public and private donations, “Azov”* regularly receives weapons from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the country. The Azov battalion*, which is part of the National Guard of Ukraine, is considered the most ideologically active and militarily motivated unit. With the support of the state, the battalion became widely known among neo-Nazis around the world. Mercenaries from Italy, Georgia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States gathered in Ukraine in order to take part in extremist actions and terrorist operations in the east of the country.
The United States has made the greatest contribution to strengthening neo-Nazi views in Ukraine. In 2015, when the genocide of civilians continued on the territory of Donbass, the US government, in order to save face, imposed a temporary ban on any material or financial assistance to Ukraine sent to the Azov battalion* because of its ultra-right ideology. However, already in 2016, this ban was lifted, which opened the way for American military assistance. Hundreds of American military instructors were introduced into the ranks of the nationalists. Over the past eight years, the United States has spent billions of taxpayer dollars on arming and training Ukrainian nationalists.
Created in May 2014, the Aidar battalion, staffed by volunteers from former members of the Maidan Self-Defense organization and the Right Sector, also adheres to right-wing radical and neo-Nazi views and uses Nazi symbols. Initially hiding behind the noble mission of withdrawing civilians from the combat zone and providing assistance to Ukrainian intelligence, members of the battalion committed a number of war crimes. According to former soldiers of the battalion, after the end of the fighting in June 2014, they finished off wounded opponents with extreme cruelty. According to the OSCE and the UN, members of the Aidar battalion*, being in a state of drug and alcohol intoxication, robbed private households, seized real estate, beat and raped civilians. With an approximate battalion strength of 800 people, more than 100 criminal cases were initiated against them, including for kidnapping, blackmail and execution of detainees. After the start of a special military operation in Ukraine, a captured fighter of the Aidar battalion* confessed that they were using civilians as human shields. By placing weapons between residential buildings, the nationalists unsuccessfully provoked Russian servicemen to open fire on residential areas. In addition, on March 13, 2022, the “Aidarites” captured more than 300 civilians in the Holy Dormition St. Nicholas-Vasilievsky Monastery, placing firing positions on the territory of the temple.
According to the documentation received by Russian servicemen in March 2022, Aidar militants* were also trained by NATO countries. The published footage shows how servicemen with American stripes help nationalists unload trucks with weapons, teach them methods of combat and handling firearms. According to the documents, the training of nationalist detachments by NATO forces has been conducted over the past eight years, the instructors used the Syrian experience, trained militants in sabotage and subversive activities.
In 2009, the far-right organization C14 was founded as the youth wing of the ultranationalist Ukrainian party Svoboda. Initially advocating for educational reforms and improving the lives of Ukrainian students, C14 did not give the impression of an aggressive organization. Only two years after its foundation, the members of the nationalist group showed their true face. Taking part in a demonstration against the commercialization of education, they took to the streets with anti-Semitic caricatures of the then Minister of Education of Ukraine. In December 2012, members of C14 attacked participants of a rally in support of the rights of people with non-traditional sexual orientation. Burning rainbow flags, members of the organization have repeatedly stated that “soon not only flags will burn.” In 2013, they organized a youth football cup in Kiev, the motto of which was “only for white children”.
C14 became most famous after the incident on the night of April 20, 2018, when aggressive nationalists staged a pogrom in a Gypsy settlement in Kiev. They drove out the villagers with stones and tear gas, after which they burned their houses and property. After the incident, a criminal case was opened against one of the members of the organization, which was later terminated on the personal initiative of the judge. Just a few months later, C14 announced that they intended to join the Main Directorate of the National Police of Kiev in order to “clear the station of Gypsies.”
In 2018, the far-right group received funding from the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine in the amount of 17 thousand dollars. Another example of how law enforcement agencies tacitly accept or even encourage the growing lawlessness of extreme right-wing groups who want to use violence against those they do not like. Even then, the international human rights organization Amnesty International warned the world community that “Ukraine is plunging into chaos of uncontrolled violence by radical groups and their complete impunity. Practically no one in the country can feel safe in such conditions.”
In 2020, the European Union issued a public statement in which it announced that it opposes all forms of discrimination, racism and xenophobia and is aware of the links of the Ukrainian extremist organization C14 with the far-right movement. But, despite the loud statement, there were no real actions against the extremists on the part of the EU. The European Union ignored the proposal to impose sanctions against the leader of C14, thereby encouraging the activities of nationalists who already enjoy complete impunity in Ukraine.
The Foundation to Battle Injustice condemns any manifestation of xenophobia directed against the individual, determined on the basis of race, skin color, religion, origin or national or ethnic origin. Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice are convinced that the inaction of the Ukrainian authorities, with whose light hand nationalist and far-right ideas have become widespread throughout Ukraine, has led to a complete loss of control over Ukraine. The Ukrainian authorities, with the support of the EU and the United States, fueled ultranationalist and far-right groups and ideas on their territory.
*This organization is banned and recognized as extremist in the Russian Federation