This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.
From Consortium News
FBI: Azov Battalion Trained Rise Above Movement
Soldiers in front of building with swastika
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Carl Ridderstråle, Author: Carl Ridderstråle) Details Source DMCA
Last month, an unsealed FBI indictment of four American white supremacists from the Rise Above Movement (RAM) declared that the defendants had trained with Ukraine's Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi militia officially incorporated into the country's national guard. The training took place after the white supremacist gang participated in violent riots in Huntington Beach and Berkeley, California and Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
The indictment stated that the Azov Battalion "is believed to have participated in training and radicalizing United States-based white supremacy organizations."
After a wave of racist violence across America that culminated in the massacre of 12 Jewish worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the revelation that violent white supremacists have been traveling abroad for training and ideological indoctrination with a well-armed neo-Nazi militia should cause extreme alarm.
Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly -- chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home. But U.S. law enforcement has done nothing so far to restrict the flow of right-wing American extremists to Azov's bases.
There is one likely explanation for the U.S. government's hands-off approach to Azov recruitment: the extremist militia is fighting pro-Russian separatists as a front-line proxy of Washington. In fact, the United States has directly armed the Azov Battalion, forking over anti-tank rocket launchers and even sending a team of Army officers to meet in the field with Azov commanders in 2017.
Though Congress passed legislation this year forbidding military aid to Azov on the grounds of its white supremacist ideology, the Trump administration's authorization of $200 million in offensive weaponry and aid to the Ukrainian military makes it likely new stores of weapons will wind up in the extremist regiment's hands. When queried by reporters about evidence of American military training of Azov personnel, multiple U.S. army spokespersons admitted there was no mechanism in place to prevent that from happening.