The West Is Suddenly Worried About Neo-Nazis in Ukraine
March 27, 2019 (EIRNS)—The U.S. and the European Union had no problem with wartime Nazi collaborators and neo-Nazi groups playing a leading role in the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine in 2014, or with fighting “pro-Russian separatists” in the Donbas in the years following, but now that they want to present the appearance of a functioning democracy, the Nazis have become a problem.
“As Ukraine’s presidential election draws near, its ultranationalist groups are becoming increasingly visible, posing a dilemma for the West,” the Associated Press reported in a lengthy wire issued this morning. “On the one hand, the ultranationalists have played a key role in fighting Russia-backed separatist rebels in the east and are now challenging government corruption,” AP reports. “On the other, they are pushing with increasing boldness for changes that go against traditional democratic ideals.”
The fact that these are neo-Nazi groups, and have nothing to do with nationalism, is not mentioned by AP until near the end, where it quotes Miroslav Mares, an expert on right-wing extremist groups at Brno University, who reports that these groups have been successful in reaching out to similar groups elsewhere in Europe.
“They have good relations to some neo-Nazi groupings in Central and Eastern Europe,” Mares said. He added that, early in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, some members of Europe’s neo-Nazi groups trained and fought with the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian ultra-right paramilitary group created by Andriy Biletsky that advocated white supremacist views. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in a Feb. 7, 2015, address to the Munich Security Conference, exposed Biletsky and other “activists” of the post-coup regime as demanding the ethnic cleansing of Ukraine, but whose statements failed to evoke any reaction in Western capitals. “I don’t think present day Europe can afford to neglect the danger of the spread of the neo-Nazi virus,” Lavrov warned at the time.
The AP wire appeared two days after a report in TASS, citing a former Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) officer telling reporters in Moscow that the Nazi and fascist ideologies have spread from the volunteer militia groups into the regular Ukrainian army. “While speaking about the crimes committed by the Ukrainian forces in Donbas, it is impossible not to mention that they largely became possible due to widespread Nazi and fascist beliefs,” said Vasily Prozorov, the former SBU officer.
“I’m referring not just to the so-called voluntary battalions, where this ideology is commonplace. I saw for myself swastikas and SS insignias on their steel helmets and swastika tattoos in many other places, too. They greet each other with the Nazi salute by extending their right arm into the air. And in the barracks they keep flags with swastikas and symbols of SS divisions on the walls.
“I’m talking now about widespread Nazi notions in ordinary divisions of the Ukrainian armed forces and the National Guard operating in the field,”
Prozorov continued. “Remember a 95th Brigade paratrooper wearing a uniform with the stripe of the SS Totenkopf division at a meeting with President Poroshenko? Or the commander of the 503th Marines battalion keeping a picture of SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny in his office. You will agree that all this speaks for itself.”