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Letter from Charlottesville to Ukraine

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"As the Trump administration mulls sending weapons to Ukraine, the question of far-right forces employed by the Kiev government has returned to the forefront. Some Western observers claim that there are no neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine, chalking the assertion up to propaganda from Moscow. Unfortunately, they are sadly mistaken. There are indeed neo-Nazi formations in Ukraine. This has been overwhelmingly confirmed by nearly every major Western outlet. The fact that analysts are able to dismiss it as propaganda disseminated by Moscow is profoundly disturbing. It is especially disturbing given the current surge of neo-Nazis and white supremacists across the globe.

"The most infamous neo-Nazi group in Ukraine is the 3,000-strong Azov Battalion, founded in 2014. Prior to creating Azov, its commander, Andriy Biletsky, headed the neo-Nazi group Patriot of Ukraine, members of which went on to form the core of Azov. Biletsky had stated that the mission of Ukraine is to 'lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival " against the Semite-led Untermenschen.' Azov's logo is composed of two emblems -- the wolfsangel and the Sonnenrad -- identified as neo-Nazi symbols by the Anti-Defamation League. The wolfsangel is used by the U.S. hate group Aryan Nations, while the Sonnenrad was among the neo-Nazi symbols at this summer's deadly march in Charlottesville. Azov's neo-Nazi character has been covered by the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, the Telegraph and Reuters, among others. On-the-ground journalists from established Western media outlets have written of witnessing SS runes, swastikas, torchlight marches, and Nazi salutes. They interviewed Azov soldiers who readily acknowledged being neo-Nazis. They filed these reports under unambiguous headlines such as 'How many neo-Nazis is the U.S. backing in Ukraine?' and 'Volunteer Ukrainian unit includes Nazis.'"

That last headline is from USA Today, which tells us: "A volunteer brigade with self-proclaimed Nazis fighting alongside government troops against Russian-backed separatists is proving to be a mixed blessing to its cause. Though the 900-member Azov Brigade adds needed manpower to repulse the rebels, members who say they are Nazis are sparking controversy, and complaints of abuses against civilians have turned some residents against them."

But don't take it from all these media reports. Take it, if you prefer, from the U.S. House of Representatives, which voted on June 10, 2015 to approve an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act to block U.S. training of the Azov battalion. But the U.S. has armed Azov, and is pouring more weapons into Ukraine, escalating the conflict.

Meanwhile the Nazis are marching 20,000 strong in Ukraine, and the U.S. tax payers who fund their weaponry would fiercely object if they had any idea.

The United States needs to create a policy of not providing weapons to any government that includes or encourages Nazism.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 
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